Somali split

US lobbying: Clash over US recognition of Somaliland

in depth

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Africa’s Top 10 lobbying operations in Washington, D.C

By Julian Pecquet

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Posted on February 10, 2022 10:04

Muse Bihi Abdi, of Somaliland speaks during a news conference in his office in Hargeysa
Muse Bihi Abdi, President of Somaliland in his office in Hargeysa, in Somaliland on 10 October 2018. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Having declared its independence from Somalia three decades ago, the de facto sovereign state of Somaliland is leveraging a perfect storm of developments to press its case for US recognition.

With the White House imposing visa restrictions over Somalia’s stalled elections, Ethiopia at war with itself, and China consolidating its military and commercial presence in Djibouti, the former British colony has been earning bipartisan plaudits as a US-friendly island of stability in the Horn of Africa.

Next month, President Muse Bihi Abdi is expected to make his first visit to the US since his 2017 election, building on a November visit by Foreign Minister Essa Kayd and special envoy Edna Adan Ismail.

Congress in turn sent its first-ever delegation to Somaliland at the end of December, with Republican staffers from the offices of Sens. Jim Risch (Idaho) and Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Reps. Michael McCaul (Texas), Chris Smith (New Jersey) and Kay Granger (Texas) participating.

Critics still abound

The influence campaign hasn’t gone unnoticed by critics intent on keeping

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