The Republic of Somaliland, which last month sent a letter to US President Donald Trump requesting an exemption for its citizens from the executive order restricting entry into the US of all individuals from Somalia, has once again urged for exemption.
Trump signed a revised executive order on immigration on 6 March. Replacing his previous travel ban, it prevents people from six Muslim-majority nations, including Somalia, from entering the US – down from seven in the original order. The first ban was lifted a month ago.
In a statement published after the order was signed earlier this week, Somaliland's Foreign Minister Saad Ali Shire said he would continue to advocate for Somalilanders to be welcomed for purposes of tourism, business and education. Somaliland is a self-declared state recognised as an autonomous region within Somalia since 1991.
"Having previously conveyed my government's concerns regarding the Executive Order of January 27, I welcome the narrowed scope of the revised Executive Order and in particular the removal of restrictions on individuals, including Somalilanders, who have permanent US residency or have previously travelled to the US," Shire stated.
Trump's new executive order was presented as a means to boost US national security against terror threats. The US directive, which includes a 120-day ban on all refugees, takes effect on 16 March. Under the newly-signed order, visa applications from affected countries may be approved on a case-by-case basis.
"However, as Somaliland and the US seek to advance shared security and economic interests, immigration policies directed at Somalia must not be applied to citizens of our country," Shire said.
"During the upcoming 90-day review period established by the revised Executive Order, our government will clarify to US officials its impact on our citizens and advocate for further measures that spare Somaliland from future directives. In so doing, Somaliland will also reaffirm our desire for strengthened bilateral relations and official US recognition of Somaliland's independent sovereign status."
The former British Somaliland protectorate achieved full independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, before uniting with Somalia – creating the Somali Republic. Somaliland reclaimed its independence in 1991, but is not officially recognised as a sovereign state.