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With Ban's Deputy at Somalia Conference, UN Dodges on Somaliland

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 7 -- When the UN announced on May 3 that its Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson would represent the Organization at today's London Conference on Somalia, Inner City Press immediately asked if it's the UN's understanding that Somaliland is represented at the conference.

  The context of the request was the refusal in early April to circulate Somaliland's letter to members of the UN Security Council, as exclusively covered by Inner City Press, here.

  So Inner City Press asked UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: About the Deputy Secretary-General going to this Somalia conference in London. Is it the UNís understanding that the issues of Somaliland [is represented], there is a lot of controversy about whether the new UN mission, how it covers Somaliland, whether it should be a separate unit. Somaliland wrote a letter to the Council last month that didnít get distributed, but are they participating, does the UN think that in going to this conference it is dealing with both Somalia and what is called Somaliland and Puntland, or just a certain part of Somalia?

Spokesperson: As I mentioned at the outset, this is a conference that is co-hosted by the Governments of Somalia and the United Kingdom. So, I suggest that you check with them on who is and is not invited and taking part.

  For what it's worth, Inner City Press replied to an exuberant tweet by the UK's William J. Hague, asking if Somaliland is represented. The response that came, not from Hague or the UK government, was that Somalia represents Somaliland.

  But that's certainly contrary to the letter which was not circulated in the UN, and to this op-ed. So why is the UN closing its eyes?

  This morning, DSG Eliasson's speech was circulated: and it does not once mention Somaliland, or Puntland. Does the UN think this issue will just go away? Watch this site.

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