It was a disastrous mistake for which Somaliland continues to pay. The brutal Siyad Barre regime provoked a civil war in which over 50,000 Somalilanders were killed and hundreds of thousands of fled. Following the implosion of Somalia, our people exercised their right to self-determination, dissolved their failed union with Somalia on 18 May 1991 and reclaimed their independence.
Today, mass graves from that terrible era continue to be found, but Somaliland has managed to move on. In sharp contrast to Somalia, our people built their own internal peace with minimal outside involvement and from the grassroots up. We have established a viable democratic state in which power transfers peacefully from one party to another in internationally-monitored elections. And we have developed key institutions including a judiciary, army and police force.