19 June 2011
Somalia: President Farole opens 26th Puntland Parliament session
The President of Puntland State of Somalia, H.E. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole), presented the opening remarks on Sunday at the commencement of the State Parliament’s 26th session in Garowe, the capital of Puntland.
Hon. Speaker Abdirashid Mohamed Hersi of the Puntland Parliament started the session with brief comments, particularly thanking the agencies AWEPA, NDI and UNDP for the assistance in building an office extension for Puntland MPs to use.
With media present, Speaker Hersi briefly stated the parliamentary agenda during the current session, including nominations for members of the Puntland Election Commission, the Human Rights Defender and judges of the Constitutional Court.
The President of Puntland started his statement by expressing his happiness to offer the opening statement at Parliament’s 26th session.
President Farole spoke extensively about peace and stability; internal and regional security issues; terrorism and piracy; internal and external “political enemies”; the TFI transition and Puntland’s participation at key international meetings on Somalia; and “occupied areas” of Puntland.
The Puntland leader said the state was invited to three international meetings on Somalia: the UN-organized High-Level Consultation Meeting on Somalia of 12-13 April 2011, held in Nairobi; UN Security Council Meeting on Somalia of 25 May 2011, held in Nairobi; and the meeting of the International Contact Group on Somalia, held in Kampala on 2-3 June, 2011.
“We have succeeded in our trips to foreign capitals as Puntland is now the major domestic stakeholder in Somalia and cannot be ignored at conferences and meetings where the topic is Somalia,” said President Farole of Puntland.
He spoke briefly about the “Kampala Accord” and stated clearly that the Accord is a “deal between TFI leaders and Puntland was not part of it.”
Continuing, he said: “We [Puntland] are still waiting for the upcoming Somali conference, being facilitated by UNPOS. Puntland has [already] appointed its representatives to the Joint Preparatory Committee to organize the conference.”
Addressing the recent protests in Mogadishu, the President said: “The protests were not spontaneous. The protests were politically motivated and organized.”
TFG President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed had stated that the protests were funded by members of Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s Cabinet. On Sunday, Farmajo resigned after serving as Prime Minister for eight months, in accordance with the terms of the “Kampala Accord.”
Puntland is a bastion of stability in Somalia, where most southern and central regions have experienced bloodshed and mass displacement since the outbreak of the Somali civil war 20 years ago.
President Farole reiterated that the overall security situation is Puntland is calm and stable, despite isolated killings “aimed at hurting our security.”
He suggested that many “political enemies” are troubled by the peace and stability in Puntland, which makes the state eager and ready for development and investment. Some of the political enemies are “from Puntland and others from the rest of Somalia,” he added.
“The terrorists aim to steal the clean minds of our children, to teach our children acts of terrorism and to threaten our cities and our citizens with assassinations and explosions. But I praise Puntland government forces who stand ready to defend the people and the state from terrorists and other criminals,” President Farole declared.
He admitted that Puntland lacked professional judges and police investigators, who are trained and adequately equipped to face the unconventional threat posed by terrorists.
The President stated that government forces “cut off” a key supply road linking the commercial port city of Bossaso to towns and villages in the mountains west of Bossaso.
He explained that the government’s move is aimed cutting off the supply of logistics and fighters to the mountain hideouts, where Al Shabaab terrorists is attempting to regroup after being dismantled last year in a Puntland government offensive.
“We in Puntland must continue to work on our unity and our security. Nowhere in the world is the police force alone able to maintain security without public assistance. I urge the public to cooperate with the security forces,” the President added.
Piracy, “occupied areas”
“Piracy is an international criminal enterprise. It is Somali youth who face risk in the high seas, who face death, being hurt, or arrested, or sick every time they journey to the sea to hijack innocent commercial vessels,” said the President of Puntland.
He indicated that Somali youth who serve as pirates represent “the smallest piece of the puzzle,” suggesting that “international players” from shipping and insurance companies to negotiators to security firms are directly involved and “profit from piracy.”
President Farole warned the public to steer away from piracy and advised parents to educate their sons about the risks associated with piracy crimes.
The President stated that Puntland would “regain control over occupied areas.” According to the Puntland Government, Las Anod district – provincial capital of Sool region – has been under Somaliland occupation since 2007, displacing tens of thousands of civilians and fomenting instability as terrorists have assassinated numerous Somaliland officials in Las Anod.
Finally, the President said his administration planned to introduce to parliament for ratification members of the Puntland Election Commission and a new bill increasing compensation and support for wounded soldiers and the families of soldiers killed while serving the State of Puntland.
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