Garowe:– On his first trip to a regional centre, the new United Nations envoy to Somalia reiterated the world body’s support for development programmes and inclusive dialogue between the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member states.
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, visited yesterday Garowe, the capital of Puntland, a Federal Member State in the country’s northeast, to meet with President Said Abdullahi Mohamed Deni and hold discussions on key UN programmes and activities.
“I am pleased to have visited Puntland and engaged in a very constructive meeting with President Said Abdullahi Mohamed Deni along with members of his cabinet,” said Mr. Swan, who is also the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).
The UN family is widely engaged in numerous activities in Puntland, ranging from good offices to emergency humanitarian assistance to medium- and long-term development projects.
“We are looking forward to working with the people of Puntland and the Federal Member States’ administrations to implement the UNSOM mandate and the programmes of UN agencies more effectively. And this includes our efforts to support inclusive dialogue among the Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal Member States,” Mr. Swan noted.
He also called for a peaceful resolution of the dispute between Puntland and Somaliland, in the Sool and Sanag region, which in the recent months has led to sporadic fighting in the vicinity of Tukaraq.
During a joint press conference, President Deni revealed that discussions with the UN envoy had focussed on development, humanitarian assistance, security, and politics.
“We deliberated on matters of particular importance to the peace process and efforts to rebuild and improve governance in Somalia, as well as advancing federalism,” President Deni remarked. He added that Puntland has a crucial role to play in pacifying Somalia.
“We made it clear that we are ready to play our role in efforts to move Somalia forward,” President Deni noted.
President Deni also hailed the new UN envoy for Somalia over his decision to choose Puntland as his first destination outside Mogadishu.
The UN special representative also met with United Nations staff in Garowe and commended them for the commitment to supporting Somalia and improving lives of the Somali people.
Mr. Swan was accompanied on the trip by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director, Laurent Bukera, and the Head of Office of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Justin Brady.
While in Puntland, he also toured a WFP-supported project in Laac-dheere aiming to enhance community resilience and improve livelihoods of local communities. The SRSG visited a local farm where a solar-powered irrigation system has improved vegetable and fruit production for the village agriculture cooperative.