Media Remarks of the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Anita Kiki Gbeho, in Garowe, Puntland
Good afternoon, Mr. President, representatives of the Puntland State and the media.
Thank you, President Said Abdullahi Deni and your team, for the warm welcome that you have extended to us today as the AU/IGAD/EU and UN. It is a pleasure to be back in Garowe, on one of our regular visits to Federal Member States; and as part of our collective effort to support Somalia on its path to greater stability.
I am accompanied by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ambassador Francisco Madeira; the Deputy Representative, Ms. Fiona Lortan; the European Union Ambassador to Somalia, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann; and by a representative of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Special Mission to Somalia, Mr. Ibrahim Mohamed Abdi.
In our meeting today with President Deni and his cabinet we discussed issues of local and national concern, with a particular focus on the current elections.
We spoke about the effects of the drought on the people of Somalia and about strengthening our coordinated response.
We spoke about the urgency of moving to the next stage of elections and the actions required to do so. We welcomed the progress made in Puntland towards the completion of the House of the People elections by the deadline of 15 March. So far Puntland has elected 31 out of 37 seats of which 5 are women.
Again, we underlined the fundamental importance of inclusivity of the process. We applauded the vibrant advocacy efforts in Puntland towards achieving the minimum quota of 30 per cent women’s representation in these elections. However, we noted with concern that achievement of this objective is in doubt. We, therefore, urge that ongoing efforts be redoubled to ensure more women’s representation in the Federal Parliament.
As we approach the 15 March deadline, it is important to conclude elections for all House of the People seats at the earliest. I therefore urge stakeholders to work together constructively and expeditiously, while ensuring political space for all, so that the electoral process can be completed by the agreed deadline.
I thank President Deni, his Government, and the people of Puntland for their warm welcome during our visit.