Presented at the 19th Meeting of the International Contact Group on Somalia
June 2 – 3, 2011
His Excellency Gen. Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda;
His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, the President of Burundi;
Amb. Augustine Mahiga, Co-Chair of the Meeting;
His Excellency Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, President of the TFG of Somalia;
Hon. Sharif Hassan, Speaker of Transitional Federal Parliament;
Ambassadors representing International Contact Group countries;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Good afternoon Your Excellencies,
It is a great opportunity and honor for me and my delegation from Puntland State of Somalia to participate in the 19th Meeting of the International Contact Group on Somalia.
The inclusiveness of Somali stakeholders in the process of finding a political settlement is a forward step for the Somali national reconciliation process. The Government of Puntland is pleased to contribute towards a lasting peace in Somalia.
I would like to present my sincere thanks and appreciation to the peoples and Governments of Uganda and Burundi, who have contributed troops to help stabilize Somalia. We pay tribute to the efforts of the AMISOM peacekeeping force in Mogadishu to fight against extremists and terrorists, and we send our condolences to the families of deceased peacekeepers.
Our government expresses its gratitude to the International Contact Group on Somalia for supporting the peace and reconciliation process. International forums and conferences convened to exchange views and information play an important role and produce ideas that help lead Somalia and the wider international community towards finding a peaceful settlement to the Somali crises.
Allow me to underline Puntland’s proposition for ending the transitional period and post-transitional arrangements, as well as addressing other key issues:
- Terrorist groups – Al Qaeda and its Somali and Yemeni offshoots – pose great risk to regional security and stability. The Puntland Government is deeply concerned about the worsening situation in Yemen, which will impact Somalia and especially Puntland. Already, thousands of refugees fleeing conflict and insecurity in Yemen are returning to Puntland.
- Al Shabaab terrorist group has regrouped in the Golis Mountains that stretch along the northern coast of Somalia. This terrorist group wishes to destabilize Puntland and threaten the strategic Gulf of Aden waterway. Presently, Puntland government forces are in full-scale preparation to confront and defeat the terrorists in the mountains.
- The Puntland Government requests urgent and long-term security assistance from the international community, as Puntland has been denied its legitimate share of security assistance provided to Somalia by the international community. More than 12,000 soldiers were trained and equipped for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) with international support, but Puntland was excluded from the training program.
- Puntland praises the role of the AMISOM peacekeeping force in Mogadishu to bolster the Transitional Federal Institutions. Currently, there is peace in Puntland, which needs to be sustained and strengthened. The Puntland Government requests an AMISOM peacekeeping contingent to be deployed in Puntland to establish a Joint Force and to begin training security forces inside Puntland.
- Puntland supports the African Union’s proposal to exercise naval blockade of coastal access for Al Shabaab terrorists and air support for AMISOM peacekeepers;
- The underlying cause of piracy should be identified and addressed properly as a phenomenon that emerged from the last 20 years of lawlessness on land in Somalia.
- Somali coastal communities should be assisted with peace-building development projects, including revitalizing fish-canning factories and other fishing industry activities.
- The establishment and training of the Puntland Marine Force (PMF) is in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1976 (11 April 2011). The Security Council should give a waiver to the PMF to complete its training for anti-piracy forces and commence land-based operations against pirates, thereby complementing international naval efforts.
- Somalia needs social healing and political reconciliation to recover from 20 years of armed conflict and national fragmentation. A social repair process of reconciliation, as “people touch people,” should be encouraged among Somali communities.
- The international community should support the Puntland initiative of promoting grassroots community reconciliation among Somalis leading up to a national process, but not political reconciliation exclusively among political actors, as was the case in the past.
- Puntland welcomes and shall participate at conferences called by the United Nations.
Ending the Transition –
- Elections for the positions of Speaker of Parliament and President of Somalia should be held before August 20, 2011, prior to the expiration of the mandate for the Transitional Federal Institutions. The election should take place inside a peaceful and stable area of Somalia.
- Puntland supports the outcome of the UN-organized High-Level Consultative Meeting on Somalia, held in Nairobi 12-13 April 2011, which proposed a two-year term extension for the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP), in order to save the basic institution and prevent a power vacuum.
- The TFP term-extension is subject to major parliamentary reforms: first, drastic reduction of the current 550 MPs to a reasonable number (i.e. 185 MPs); and secondly, using constituency-based selection criteria, instead of the unfair and divisive clan-based 4.5 Formula.
- Puntland welcomes the UN Security Council Meeting on Somalia, held in Nairobi on 25 May 2011, which was held after the High-Level Consultative Meeting of 12-13 April 2011. Puntland praises the Security Council for reaffirming the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Somalia. We acknowledge that the Security Council mandated the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Ambassador Mahiga, to lead and carry forth the remaining process of ending the transition.
- Puntland shall soon appoint its representatives to the Joint Preparatory Committee which includes key stakeholders, as called for by the SRSG to Somalia, Ambassador Mahiga.
Post-transitional Arrangements –
- The incoming government that assumes office after August 20, 2011, should complete key transitional tasks within a period of two years, with measureable predetermined benchmarks. Undertaking major security reforms, advancing reconciliation, completing the Draft Federal Constitution in an inclusive process, formation of new federal states, and delivery of basic services, should be the top priorities.
- The required parliamentary reforms should be completed well before the formation of the next parliament, preferably before August 20, 2012.
- The legitimate state and regional authorities should be strengthened through institution-building support, while the formation of all the federal states should be completed before August 20, 2013.
- Puntland is the number one pillar of the Transitional Federal Institutions. Since 2004, Puntland has committed more than 3,000 soldiers to Mogadishu, with hundreds killed while serving the TFG of Somalia.
- Puntland was established as a federal state in Somalia in 1998. In 2004, Somalia sanctioned federalism as the only viable system of government. The country has suffered from 30 years of centralist rule followed by 20 years of anarchy. Somalia needs to be re-instituted under a federal arrangement that decentralizes power and resources between the national government and state governments, as stipulated by the Federal Constitution.
Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs –
- Puntland State of Somalia respects and protects the dignity and human rights of all people, as enshrined in the Puntland State Constitution.
- Hosting over 300,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), who are predominantly from southern Somalia, has been an economic burden on the Puntland Government and its meager resources. Puntland receives no international contributions to sustain the IDPs, who share with the host community access to security, justice, healthcare, and employment opportunities. The Government acknowledges and is seriously concerned that agents of terrorism and insecurity may disguise themselves among the IDP communities in order to evade authorities. Puntland requires assistance with managing IDP communities.
- Puntland’s urban poor and nomadic communities receive no assistance, in terms of livestock sector development, vocational training and investment.
- Finally, Puntland urges the international community to rush to the aid of Somalis affected by the drought and in need of emergency humanitarian assistance.