DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, June 29 (UPI) -- Dubai announced it was hosting rival leaders from Somalia to help negotiate a settlement to long-standing disputes.
Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991, the last time Mogadishu had a functioning central government.
Somali President Sharif Sheik Ahmed and Somaliland President Ahmed Silanyo travelled to Dubai for their first formal bilateral talks in 21 years, the BBC reports.
The last formal talks were hosted in London in 1991.
Somalia has endured decades of civil war. More recently, the interim government in Mogadishu has struggled to extend its authority over al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida ally seeking to establish an Islamic state in the region.
Somaliland, by comparison, has enjoyed relative stability.
The U.S. State Department recently authorized a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to the location of al-Shabaab founder Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed. Lesser rewards were offered for other key al-Shabaab figures.
Somalia needs to adopt a new Parliament and a new constitution before the mandate for the interim government ends Aug. 20.