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20. Mr. Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made towards establishing normal international links with (a) Somaliland and (b) southern Somalia.

Mr. Baldry: It has not proved possible to make progress towards establishing normal links with Somalia due to the failure of the Somalis to reach agreement on the formation of a national Government. The future of north-west Somalia must be for Somalia as a whole to determine.

Mr. Michael: Does the Minister recognise that there is no Somalia as a whole now? The warring factions in the south cannot determine who represents the south but the north has functioned comparatively--I stress the word "comparatively"--as an operational entity for a couple of years now. Does not the Minister recognise that the links between Britain and Somalia are with the north-west--with the Republic of Somaliland--which is where Britain should be providing support, help and encouragement? To wait for some magic date when everything will come right in the south is to wait for a date that will never come.

Mr. Baldry: I know that the hon. Gentleman takes a close interest in north-west Somalia, but it is clear that a return to peace in Somalia as a whole and the establishment of viable national institutions with which the international community can deal can be achieved only by the Somalis themselves. We hope that they will work with renewed vigour to achieve those goals.

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