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Contact: Justin Harmon (609) 258-5732
Date: October 11, 1999

President of Somaliland to Speak at Princeton

PRINCETON, N.J. -- In a rare U.S. appearance, the president of Somaliland, Muhammad Ibrahim Egal, will give a public talk at Princeton University on Oct. 13.

Somaliland (the portion of Somalia previously ruled by the British) declared its independence from Somalia in 1991. While the government, based in Hargeysa, has not been recognized, it receives international aid, provides security for its population, and carries on many of the functions of a sovereign state. Somaliland is appealing for international recognition given that the Somali state, based formally in Mogadishu, has collapsed.

Muhammad Ibrahim Egal was a central figure in the struggle for Somali independence and was Prime Minister of Somalia from 1967 to 1969. He was overthrown in the coup that brought Siad Barre to power and was subsequently imprisoned. He was elected President of Somaliland in 1993 and re-elected in 1997.

President Egal will be speaking on "The Sovereignty of Somaliland." He thus will be addressing a topic that is extremely pertinent to the immediate future of several million people in Somalia and contributing to a wide-ranging global debate about what sovereignty means in the third world. Indeed, the nature of sovereignty was the focus of Secretary-General Annan's comments to the General Assembly this year. Egal met with Annan last week.

Egal's talk, sponsored by Princeton's African Studies Program, will take place Wednesday, October 13th, at 4:30 pm in Dodds Auditorium (Woodrow Wilson School).