How many UN-member countries will recognize Somaliland’s independence by July 1, 2024?
7
147
363
May 2
33%
0
42%
1-3
5%
4-6
4%
7-14
15%
15 or more

On January 1 2024, Ethiopia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Somaliland that is supposed to lead to a formal agreement that will include Ethiopia formally recognizing Somaliland in return for leasing 20 km of coastline to Ethiopia. Somaliland reclaimed its independence in 1991, but has not been recognized by any other nation.

This question will be resolved according to formal recognition; intent to recognize or implied recognition will not count.

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In the interest of full transparency, I intend to post whenever a UN-member country officially recognizes Somaliland (SL), so there will be no doubt about how this question is being scored.

As of today, zero countries officially recognize SL in an explicit and unambiguous manner according to the resolution criteria. Taiwan’s relationship with SL will not be counted because Taipei does not have a seat at the UN.

If the memorandum of understanding constitutes a treaty, then its very existence means Ethiopia already recognizes Somaliland, even if the text says recognition will come at a later date.

@BrunoParga The MoU is not a treaty. In addition, the text of the memo does not say anything about recognition—that is something that has been claimed by some officials. This question will be resolved according to formal recognition; intent to recognize or implied recognition will not count.

@TrickyDuck

> The MoU is not a treaty.

You don't know that. According to the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a treaty is "an international agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by international law, [...] whatever its particular designation" (emphasis mine). This particular MoU is a treaty if its text shows it fits the Convention's definition.

> In addition, the text of the memo does not say anything about recognition

You don't know that either, unless you've read the actual text – have you? If you have, can you please share it with me?

> This question will be resolved according to formal recognition

If the MoU is a treaty – which can only be known by reading its text, to see if it fits the VCLT definition of a treaty – then it is formal recognition. I can pull up several sources on international law to show you that recognition can be implicit and it is no different from explicit, do you want me to do that?

@BrunoParga For the purposes of this question, a memo is not considered a treaty. Somaliland officials are saying that recognition will come later.

I have read the text. Anyone is free to google and read it too.

“Recognition can be implicit.” Yes, but for the purposes of this question, implied recognition will not count. The goal is to have clear criteria for resolution.

@TrickyDuck google doesn't have the text of the memorandum, only the press release about it. Which is why I asked you for the link of the actual text if you'd found it. I don't believe you've read the memo, only the press release (but I'd love to be proven wrong on this).

Also, it sounds really strange to have a question about an international law matter directly contradict international law, [especially since implicit recognition is no less clear than explicit] (edit: I'm retracting this claim).

@BrunoParga You are being kind of hostile. You accused me of not reading it, and then you have the nerve to ask me to help you by doing your research. Go pound sand.

You are free to bet (or not) on this question. This is not an attempt to define or redefine international law.

(deleted)

@TrickyDuck actually, my apologies. I didn't mean to conduct this in a hostile way. I meant to provide helpful commentary on the question, informed by relevant subject matter expertise as a former diplomat.

I hoped you'd meet me halfway by sharing what you have read; either it'd be the actual MoU, for which I'd be really thankful and which would go a long way towards clarifying if it does recognize or not; or it would be a press release or something quoting it, in which case I'd appreciate it if you acknowledged it is not the MoU itself.

This statement that was Tweeted by the Ethiopian government, for example, is not the MoU: https://twitter.com/FdreService/status/1742511010315919641

Ultimately, of course it is your right to put whatever stipulations you want in your market. I do hope that you'll accept my apologies and cooperate in at least asking if the wording of the market can be made clearer.

@BrunoParga Thank you so much for your latest comments.

I saw a translation of the text on twitter, where someone had posted it. If I see it again I will post a link here.

I understand and respect your professional background. My focus on explicit formal recognition is to avoid disputes over interpretation if resolution were to allow implicit recognition. I got screwed out of a lot of funds on a question where the creator used some “generous” interpretation of the resolution criteria. I want anyone betting on this question to be confident that there will be criteria that is unambiguous as possible.

The news I have been seeing suggests that Ethiopia will be doing a clear and public declaration of recognition within about a month, so I think the MoU will be OBE very soon anyway.

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@TrickyDuck

> I saw a translation of the text on twitter, where someone had posted it. If I see it again I will post a link here.

That would be swell, thank you.

> I got screwed out of a lot of funds on a question where the creator used some “generous” interpretation of the resolution criteria. I want anyone betting on this question to be confident that there will be criteria that is unambiguous as possible.

I am sorry this happened to you, and I think your reasoning makes sense.

@BrunoParga I was mistaken about seeing the MoU; a lengthy statement from the Ethiopian government on January 3 had language which read as if it was the MoU (“this MoU”).

That government statement said that MoU had provisions for Ethiopia to “make an in-depth assessment towards taking a position regarding the efforts of Somaliland to gain recognition.” Addis Ababa seems to be very cautious on that point for now.

The SL president is reportedly going to travel to the UAE and US soon. A SL official says that an official agreement between SL and Ethiopia will be signed in a third country that both parties trust, so I am going to guess that would be the US.

@TrickyDuck

> Addis Ababa seems to be very cautious on that point for now.

Yeah, I agree this is a non-obvious part of my model of the situation.

I was a diplomat for Brazil. Not gonna lie, we are pretty damn good at that. Or at least my colleagues who stayed at the Ministry are (I quit). But even then there were times where, from the inside, we looked like we had no clue what we were doing.

My point here is that countries sometimes mess up. The very first case tried by the International Court of Justice is an example of this; Albania could have just said "we don't accept this lawsuit the UK is bringing against us" and they'd have been fine, the process would have stopped right then and there. Instead, they said "... and even if we were to accept it, the UK is wrong because X and Y". Making this argument on the merits was held by the Court as tacit acceptance of its jurisdiction.

So, states can mess up; even more so, poor and war-ravaged states like Ethiopia. My model is that they didn't realize that they could be implicitly recognizing Somaliland.

> an official agreement between SL and Ethiopia will be signed

Okay, this is most likely the case – but apart from that, an official agreement has already been signed, the MoU itself. It has an object (access to the sea, transfer of Ethiopian Airlines stock) and it has been signed by officials acting in their official capacity (the foreign minister of Ethiopia, I think, and definitely the President of Somaliland). Again, keep in mind that they might not have realized all of the international legal implications of their act. African leaders are extremely prodigous in "declarations" and they often have little substance.

Like, at this point my position is purely academic; I want to know if the MoU could, in principle, be considered as recognition, regardless of whether either party claims so or whether Ethiopia explicitly declares its recognition at a later date. This affects things like, what if Somaliland tries to sue another state at the International Court of Justice, which only accepts cases brought forward by States?