Remarks by the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Catriona Laing, to the media, during her visit to Garowe, Puntland
Thank you, Mr. President.
Let me begin by extending my great appreciation for the very warm welcome that I have received today from you and your cabinet ministers. I am only on day five of my time in Somalia, but this is my second time in Somalia. I was actually here in 1993 during the original UN Mission. So, it is a great pleasure to be back.
I've had my meeting with His Excellency Hassan Sheikh Mahmood, President of the Federal Republic [of Somalia]. He received me as I presented my credentials, and I'm now spending my time trying to visit the various Federal Member States.
Today, we've been discussing a number of important topics, most important of which was the very successful local elections held here in 30 districts on the 25th of May. And I extended my congratulations. This is a major step forward in Puntland's march towards democracy, and it also showcases a way forward for other parts of Somalia. I hope the remaining three districts can complete their local elections, including here in Garowe.
Secondly, the president and I discussed the very serious humanitarian situation following the displacement of 100,000 people, given the conflict in Laascaanood and the wider Sool region. I thanked the president and his team for extending their support to those displaced. And I noted his request for the UN and international partners to do more to support the serious humanitarian situation.
Finally, we discussed the ongoing state-building and peacebuilding project across Somalia, and I was very pleased to hear the president's very clear commitment to dialogue, playing his part in the journey as we create and complete the constitutional review process. And I extended the full support and good offices of the UN to try and help find a way forward as soon as possible. Because, with a solid state across Somalia, we'll be able to focus on the crucial issues of economic development and job creation for youth — things that will enable Somalia to play a rightful part in the region as a prosperous and stable Somalia.
This is the first of what I hope will be many visits. And I want to thank again the president and his team for welcoming me so warmly.
Thank you very much.