IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
March 17, 2022
Mr. Risch (for himself, Mr. Van Hollen, and Mr. Rounds) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
To require the Secretary of State to submit annual reports to Congress on the assistance provided to Somaliland and to conduct a feasibility study, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, on establishing a security partnership with Somaliland, without recognizing Somaliland as an independent state.
This Act may be cited as the
Somaliland Partnership Act.
Sense of Congress
It is the sense of Congress that—
a stronger relationship between the United States and Somaliland would provide numerous, mutually beneficial, strategic opportunities due to Somaliland’s—
geographic location in the Horn of Africa and next to the Gulf of Aden;
democratic credentials, including peaceful transfers of power following elections; and
relative stability in the Horn of Africa;
Somaliland’s security situation, level of development, and other challenges differ significantly from the situation in Mogadishu and other regions of Somalia, which necessitates—
a different approach to engagement, assistance, and travel by personnel of the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development; and
the avoidance of a
one-size-fits-all policy approach to Somalia; and
the status of Somaliland should not serve as an obstacle for deeper and meaningful cooperation that will serve the mutual interests of our two governments.
In this Act, the term Somaliland means the territory that—
received its independence from the United Kingdom on June 26, 1960, before the creation of the Somali Republic;
has been a self-declared independent and sovereign state since 1991 that is not internationally recognized; and
exists as a semi-autonomous region of the Federal Republic of Somalia.
Report on foreign assistance and other activities in Somaliland
In this section, the term appropriate congressional committees means—
the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate; and
the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives.
Not later than September 30, 2022, and annually thereafter until the date that is 5 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees that, with respect to the most recently concluded 12-month period—
describes United States foreign assistance to Somaliland, including—
the value of such assistance (in United States dollars);
the source from which such assistance was funded;
the names of the programs through which such assistance was administered;
the implementing partners through which such assistance was provided;
the sponsoring bureau of the United States Government; and
if the assistance broadly targeted the Federal Republic of Somalia, the portion of such assistance that was—
explicitly intended to support Somaliland; and
ultimately employed in Somaliland;
details the staffing and responsibilities of the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development supporting foreign assistance, diplomatic relations, consular services, and security initiatives in Somaliland, including the location of such personnel (duty station) and their corresponding bureau;
a detailed account of travel to Somaliland by employees of the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development, if any, including the position, duty station, and trip purpose for each such trip; or
the justification for not traveling to Somaliland if no such personnel traveled during the reporting period;
describes consular services provided by the Department of State for the residents of Somaliland;
discusses the Department of State’s Travel Advisory for Somalia related to the region of Somaliland; and
if the Travel Advisory for all or part of Somaliland is identical to the Travel Advisory for other regions of Somalia, justifies such ranking based on a security assessment of the region of Somaliland.
The report required under paragraph (1) shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may contain a classified annex.
Feasibility study on improved diplomatic relations and a security and defense partnership with Somaliland
In this section, the term appropriate congressional committees means—
the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate;
the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate;
the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives; and
the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives.
The Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, shall conduct a feasibility study regarding the establishment of a partnership between the United States and Somaliland that—
includes coordination with Somaliland government security organs, including Somaliland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense;
determines opportunities for collaboration in the pursuit of United States national security interests in the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Aden, and the broader Indo-Pacific region;
identifies opportunities for United States training of Somaliland security sector actors to improve their professionalization and capacity; and
assesses the prospect of establishing a nonprofit corporation, to be known as the
American Institute of Somaliland, for the purpose of conducting and carrying out programs, transactions, and other relations with Somaliland in the City of Hargeisa on behalf of the United States Government.
Report to Congress
Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense and the heads of other relevant Federal departments and agencies, shall submit a classified report to the appropriate congressional committees that contains the results of the feasibility study required under subsection (b), including an assessment of the extent to which—
opportunities exist for the United States to support the training of Somaliland’s security sector actors with a specific focus on counterterrorism and border and maritime security;
Somaliland’s security forces were implicated, if any, in gross violations of human rights during the 3-year period immediately preceding the date of the enactment of this Act;
the United States has provided or discussed with government and military officials of Somaliland the provision of training to security forces, including—
where such training has occurred;
the extent to which Somaliland security forces have demonstrated the ability to absorb previous training; and
the ability of Somaliland security forces to maintain and appropriately utilize such training, as applicable;
a United States security and defense partnership with Somaliland would have a strategic impact, including by protecting the United States and allied maritime interests in the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait and at Somaliland’s Port of Berbera;
serve as a maritime gateway in East Africa for the United States and its allies; and
counter Iran’s presence in the Gulf of Aden and China’s growing regional military presence;
a United States security and defense partnership would—
bolster security and defense cooperation and capabilities between Somaliland and Taiwan;
stabilize this semi-autonomous region of Somalia further as a democratic counterweight to anti-democratic forces in the greater Horn of Africa region; and
impact the capacity of the United States to achieve policy objectives in Somalia, particularly to degrade and ultimately defeat the terrorist threat posed by Al-Shabaab, the Islamic State in Somalia (the Somalia-based Islamic State affiliate), and other terrorist groups operating in Somalia;
the extent to which an improved diplomatic relationship with Somaliland could—
support United States policy focused on the Red Sea corridor, the Indo-Pacific region, and the Horn of Africa;
improve cooperation on counterterrorism and intelligence sharing;
enable cooperation on counter-trafficking, including the trafficking of humans, wildlife, weapons, and illicit goods; and
support trade and development, including how Somaliland could benefit from Prosper Africa and other regional trade initiatives.
The report required under subsection (c) shall be submitted in unclassified form, but may contain a classified annex.
Rule of construction
Nothing in this Act, including the reporting requirement under section 4 and the conduct of the feasibility study under section 5, may be construed to convey United States recognition of Somaliland as an independent state.