Sunday, April 22, 2012

Puntland Link Compels Somaliland to Abandon Talks With TFG

Garowe Online (Garowe)

Somalia: Puntland Link Compels Somaliland to Abandon Talks With TFG

21 April 2012

Mogadishu — Authorities in Somalia's separatist region of Somaliland have abruptly pulled out of proposed dialogue with TFG of Somalia after President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed included two Puntland ministers in the dialogue committee he appointed last week, Radio Garowe reports.

Somaliland Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omar told a press conference in Hargeisa said that Somaliland would not hold talks with the TFG as long as Puntland officials remain on the committee.

"The dialogue should be between TFG and Somaliland. We see no reason for involvement of Puntland ministers, who hail originally from Somaliland regions. So Somaliland will not engage in these talks," said Minister Omar.

Somaliland's foreign minister went on to add that the appointment of the "two additional ministers from Puntland" had a hidden agenda. Minister Omar claimed that President Sharif "originally appointed five TFG ministers and then issued a second list with seven ministers, including two ministers from Puntland."

Somaliland Minister Omar claims that Puntland Interior Minister Abdullahi Jama Ilkajir and Puntland Planning Minister Daud Mohamed Omar are "from Somaliland regions of Sanaag and Sool." Sanaag and Sool regions, etched between Puntland and Somaliland, are claimed by both Puntland and Somaliland. In the past, Puntland and Somaliland have fought pitched battles for control over Sool and Sanaag regions.

Mogadishu media reported TFG President Sharif appointed a 7-member committee chaired by TFG Interior Minister Abdisamad Moallim Mohamud. The committee includes two Puntland ministers and is mandated with facilitating dialogue between TFG and Somaliland, as recommended by the London Conference of February 2012.

Puntland response

Puntland Planning Minister Daud Mohamed Omar responded to Somaliland's claims during a BBC interview on Friday. Minister Daud said: "Puntland is part of Somalia and shares land with Somaliland so it is very important that Puntland is part of the dialogue."

Minister Daud continued: "Puntland is a state in Somalia and is entitled to representation but Somaliland officials for whatever reasons want to discontinue dialogue and they should rethink their decisions."

Puntland's minister said "Somaliland fears being held to account for the killings, looting and displacement of civilians in Las Anod area." In March, Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole declared that TFG-Somaliland dialogue that excludes Puntland is "illegal and unacceptable."

TFG officials led by President Sharif have not yet responded to Somaliland's decision to pull out of proposed dialogue.

UN Special Representative to Somalia Augustine Mahiga landed in Hargeisa on Friday and has reportedly held a meeting with Somaliland officials over their decision to cancel proposed dialogue with the TFG committee.

Somaliland: President Silanyo Urges UN to Enhance Support

Saturday, 21 April 2012 19:12
By Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The UN has been urged to enhance its muli-sectored development in the country for a brighter posterity of the people.

This was urged by President Ahmed Mahmoud SilanSilanyo welcomes Mahiga to the Presidencyo during a meeting with the visiting UN Special representative to Somaliland/Somalia Ambassador Augustine Mahiga, at the presidency.

President Silanyo it was a honour to once again host the UN envoy who is on a regular visit related to his UNOPS office in Hargeisa. Amb. Mahiga who arrived late Friday afternoon is on a two day official visit which will see him meet with various authorities in the country.

A press statement released from the presidency said that the two leaders held cordial talks related to various development activities undertaken in the country by the UN with the president briefing the ambassador on new democratization developments.

The president asked the UN to enhance its support in areas that the country cannot sustain without help especially security since the country lies in one of the most volatile regions in the world.

Amb. Augustine Mahiga's real motive for his unscheduled visit has not been official disclosed but it is mostly likely as a result of the government's announcement that it has withdrawn from proposed talks with Somalia.

During a press briefing in the VIP lounge at Egal Airport, immediately on arrival Amb Mahiga who was flanked by the country's foreign minister Dr Abdilahi Omar, said that it was a pleasure for him to be back in Somaliland where he maintains a permanent staff of the United Nations office of Political Support-UNOPS.

Though it is obvious that Amb Augustine Mahiga will utilize most of his yet to be disclosed duration of stay in the country in persuading an about turn on talks withdrawal, the ambassador said he will also take time to discuss the war on piracy and other development issues supported by the UN in Somaliland.

The Amb whose official headquarters is now in Mogadishu refused to disclose if he had discussed with Sheikh Sharif the Somalia president, the inclusion of Puntland ministers in the TFG team which is the bone of contention for Somaliland.

Talking to the press at the Egal airport VIP lounge The foreign minister Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar who led the official Mahiga reception committee only welcomed the UN ambassador to the country saying that the administration will as usual open all its doors as well as those of the rest of the country thus ensure Mahiga's mission concludes successfully.

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