Somali leaders urged to end political rifts through talks




The United Nations envoy to Somalia visited the city of Galkayo in a series of meetings with regional leaders, with a renewed call for greater collaboration between the country’s federal and state authorities.

“The overall concern is that Somalia is a country that requires all people to work together, all levels of government to work together, without which we cannot advance the project of bringing stability and prosperity to the country,” said the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Haysom.

“No party can do it on its own, and no party can go it alone to achieve this objective,” he added.

The UN envoy met with the leadership of Galmudug state during his visit to Galkayo. The trip followed similar introductory visits to Kismayo, Baidoa, Garowe and Hargeisa. The visits have taken place against the backdrop of recent tensions between the Federal Government of Somalia and the country’s Federal Member States.

In Galkayo, as on some of his previous visits, he was joined by the African Union (AU) envoy to Somalia, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Ambassador Francisco Madeira.

Restart dialogue

In meetings with Galmadug’s political authorities – who included President Ahmed Duale Geele ‘Haaf,’ Chief Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shakir, members of the regional parliament and state cabinet members – the two envoys reiterated the need for state leadership to restart a political dialogue with their counterparts at the federal level.

Mr. Haysom noted there are several potential avenues for reviving the dialogue, including through Upper House mediation or open political discussions with the President. “This could also be done through the technical committees that have made progress in developing the federalism framework, and that would need to be done in parallel with political engagement and agreement,” Mr. Haysom said.

“People expect progress in all these areas, and particularly at this time immediately preceding regional elections and the upcoming 2020 general elections,” he added.

Improved security in Galkayo

The city of Galkayo, which straddles the border between the federal member states of Puntland and Galmudug, has been plagued by armed violence in the past. But local authorities and residents have made significant progress in recent reconciliation and peacebuilding efforts.

The UN Special Representative welcomed that progress and encouraged local leaders to pursue those constructive efforts until the Galmadug unification process is completed.

“The United Nations is planning to establish an office in Galmudug, and our support to this State should be an encouragement for Somalis to work together, to accommodate different views in a democratic way,” Mr. Haysom said.

At the end of their discussions, Galmudug President Ahmed Duale Geele ‘Haaf’ expressed optimism about future cooperation with the UN. “We had a good meeting with the new United Nations envoy to Somalia, and we hope that this collaboration will push forward the reconciliation process. It is my hope that in the future we can build on today’s positive start.”