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As Somaliland Says UNSOM Can't Function There, UN in Denial, On Facebook

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 13 -- After Somaliland through its foreign minister told UN envoy to Somalia Nicholas Kay that his UNSOM mission is not welcome in Somaliland, Inner City Press asked UK ambassador (and UN Security Council President for June) Mark Lyall Grant about it.

Lyall Grant said "I think the situation is not 100 percent clear, yet." But it is: Inner City Press has obtained and is putting online the Somaliland letter. It says the UN

"ignores the reality of Somaliland's existence and functioning as an independent state since 1991 and the self-determination rights of our people. Since the purpose of such an office is to extend the remit of the federal government to Somaliland, my government is of the view that a UNSOM'S presences in Hargeisa will not be in the best interest of our country. Therefore, we can not allow UNSOM'S political office to function in Somaliland."

  The UN should not be surprised, though some perhaps are: as Inner City Press reported in April, Somaliland's letter to the Security Council was never distributed to the Council members. Then the UN system gave Somaliland's airspace to Somalia, triggering a ban on UN flights.

  Now UNSOM has put on its Facebook page -- Digital Diplomacy again -- that Nicholas Kay

"after his meeting with Somaliland Government in Hargeisa and concerns expressed over UNSOM mandate: 'I take very seriously the Somaliland government's concerns as expressed today. This is a complex and sensitive issue and I believe the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia, UNSOM, can bring considerable benefits to Somaliland across a range of issues, while fully respecting its particular circumstances. I look forward to continuing the dialogue.'"

Good luck. A joke outside the Security Council on Thursday was that someday soon, quite soon, Nicholas Kay will be called by a Freudian-slipping ambassador Nicholas Cage. Things are getting weird. Watch this site.

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