Remarks by the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Catriona Laing, to the media, during her visit to Dhusamareb, Galmudug
Edited for length and clarity
Your Excellency, President Ahmed Abdi Karie 'Qoorqoor',
Let me begin by expressing my gratitude for the really warm welcome you've extended to me and my team. Since my arrival in Somalia in early June. I've been touring around the Federal Member States; indeed, I was due to be here in June, but His Excellency the President Hassan Sheikh (Mohamud) called a meeting on the day I was due to come here. But I'm delighted to be here now.
As His Excellency has said, we've had a really fruitful initial meeting and covered a lot of ground. We started discussing national issues and the various consultations that are going on regarding the National Consultative Council process. And I commended the President for his commitment to that wide and inclusive consultation, including with civil society, with elders, with women, and with youth, because it is so important, as Somalia continues this state-building process, that the people of Somalia, opposition leaders, and others are brought into this genuine, inclusive dialogue.
Secondly, we talked about the progress Galmudug has made on local democracy and the preparations, which I understand are very well advanced, for one-person-one-vote district elections here. The United Nations is fully committed to supporting Galmudug and is already working with you to prepare for those local elections.
We moved on to talk about security here, and I commended the President for the work that he's done to create a stable environment, including, of course, reclaiming territory from Al-Shabaab, which has made great progress. But we discussed the importance of following up military operations with stabilisation efforts to ensure the area remains secure, including, of course, the provision of police. And I was pleased to hear that 400 local state police have been established now, and I committed the United Nations to fully come in and support those stabilisation efforts. An enduring police presence in the reclaimed areas and then the provision of basic services provides the opportunity for people to rebuild their livelihoods because it's so important for people to see that the government is there to support them.
Finally, we discussed the very important progress we're making on establishing a United Nations office here in Galmudug. We now have land in Hero Drogo, here in the capital, and we agreed we should fast-track that work as soon as we possibly can. While we already have a very strong partnership with you, it will obviously be much easier to strengthen and deepen that partnership and for the various UN Agencies, funds, and programmes to establish a presence here and strengthen the partnership going forward.
So, thank you again, Your Excellency, Mr. President, for welcoming me, and I look forward to many future such visits.