Remarks of UN Special Representative Catriona Laing at the Inauguration of Puntland’s President Said Abdullahi Deni
Garowe – Your Excellency, Hassan Sheikh Mohammed, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia; your excellency, Said Abdullahi Deni, President of Puntland; Members of Parliament; Federal Member States here present; State Ministers; my friends from the Diplomatic Corps; distinguished guests.
Good afternoon. It is always such a pleasure to be in Puntland. This is my third visit to Puntland, but it is particularly special today on this momentous occasion.
So on behalf of the whole United Nations family – and indeed all the ambassadors here present today, and there are many of us – please allow me to warmly congratulate you, President Deni, on your reelection.
Allow me also please to [commend] the collective efforts of the people of Puntland, all the stakeholders who made this possible – the political leaders, including the opposition; traditional elders; civil society; youth; and, of course, women. You all came together to create a peaceful process that is truly a remarkable achievement, and that stands [as a testament] to strong leadership from all these groups.
As my colleague from the European Union mentioned, Somalia had a very good year in 2023 – 2024 has started with some very big challenges, and I really want to echo what the EU Ambassador Karin [Johansson] said: This is a moment to come together and it's wonderful to see all the Federal Member State presidents here today. So this is a wonderful opportunity to do a little bit of a reset and ensure everyone’s working together to tackle the enormous challenges, but also to take advantage of the huge opportunities that you have ahead as Somalia.
I want to particularly emphasize the importance as you go forward of keeping that sense of inclusion, ensuring women have their rightful seat at the table – I see one waving, it’s a shame there’s not more in the room; next time we'll see more! – and of course, the youth, the youth who are the future of Somalia.
So congratulations, President Deni. Let me assure you, you have the full support of the United Nations behind you, as well as, of course, the whole of Somalia. So the very best of luck in the future. Thank you.
*Edited for Clarity