UN Special Representative James Swan’s Statement at Press Stake-Out in Hargeisa, Somaliland
I would like to thank President Musa Bihi Abdi and the people of Somaliland for the warm welcome that I have received during my visit.
It’s good to be back in Hargeisa. I first visited in 1995, and again in 2012-2013. Even during my brief visit now, I can see the progress achieved. The vibrancy of the economy and the general security that has been maintained underpin confidence in the future.
I have held good discussions with President Bihi and his ministers. We discussed the importance of building on Somaliland’s achievements. Critical to that is finding ways of resolving differences peacefully and constructively, and maintaining open channels of communication.
We also discussed the importance of completing the necessary preparatory work to proceed to credible parliamentary and local elections very soon. In that context, I was pleased to learn of the agreement reached yesterday among political parties that we hope will lead to those elections on an early timeline.
I also had the opportunity to see some of the work that the United Nations is undertaking to address both immediate humanitarian needs and longer-term development goals.
Yesterday, I visited a skills production centre, supported by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. It was inspirational to see the practical training being provided to equip refugees and asylum-seekers to support themselves and their families, and also to contribute to the host economy.
I also visited the Civil Service Institute, supported by the UN Development Programme and the Ministry of Interior. It was interesting to meet public officials working to overcome the challenges of developing local government which is both accountable and responsive to those using local services.
I look forward to continuing my connection with the authorities and people of Somaliland, and I will take this chance to thank President Bihi and his colleagues for their support to the UN operations here.