Remarks to the Press in Garowe by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General James Swan
President Said Deni, Honourable Members of the Cabinet, Members of the Press,
It is a pleasure to be back in Garowe. I am here today on one of my regular visits to Federal Member States to review the work of the United Nations team, and to discuss local and national issues with Federal Member State Leaders. I am pleased that Deputy Special Representative Raisedon Zenenga has also joined me on this trip.
The United Nations presence in Garowe includes the United Nations Assistance Mission to Somalia (UNSOM) plus another 17 agencies, funds, and programmes that work throughout Puntland to help its people. Key projects focus on support to local governance; cash transfers and cash-for-work for vulnerable populations; promotion of reproductive health; and response to the needs of Internally Displaced Persons and host communities in Puntland, among many other programmes.
In our meetings today with President Deni and his cabinet we discussed a range of local issues, related to economic development, democratic reform, and security.
We congratulated Puntland’s leaders for the recent successful investment conference and the start of the Ethiopian Airlines flight over the summer. Both offer positive signals of economic revival in Puntland. We also learned about preparations for the new Puntland Development Plan and we look forward to collaborating on that initiative.
We heard about the work of the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission (TPEC). We understand that nominated members will shortly be considered for endorsement by the Puntland State Assembly.
These are solid examples of the Puntland Government’s commitment to economic and social development, and to democratization, which we applaud.
We stressed during our visit the importance of ensuring that peace and security prevail for the population. We commend Puntland for its ongoing efforts to degrade Al-Shabaab, relying mainly on its own forces and financial resources. We continue to urge efforts to address differences over Sool and Sanaag through dialogue, with a view to peaceful resolution.
Regarding national issues, I reiterated that we strongly encourage all Somalis to work together toward achieving consensus on issues of critical importance. Priorities for 2020 include completion of the constitutional review; organization of national parliamentary elections; achievement of debt relief; and advancement of security gains against Al-Shabaab.
Progress on these national issues requires an inclusive, sustained dialogue across all segments of society and at all levels of government - especially between the Federal Government and Federal Member States. We call, as a matter of urgency, for the Federal Government and all Federal Member States to resume cooperation in the interest of the Somali people and we thank President Deni for his earlier efforts to mend the relations between the Federal Government and Federal Member States, for example by convening the Garowe meeting in May.
Puntlanders are rightly proud of the progress they have made in the past 21 years, since the establishment of their constitution, a first among Federal Member States. I am confident that, under President Said Deni’s leadership, Puntland can play a constructive role in advancing national priorities.
I thank President Said Deni, his government, and the people of Garowe and of Puntland for their warm welcome and gracious hospitality during our visit.