MOGADISHU – “Somalia’s enormous potential will not be realised unless there is stability.”
That was the key message of the United Nations envoy to Somalia at a gathering of leaders from the country’s Federal Member States.
Held in the southern port city of Kismayo, the meeting of the Council of Inter-state Cooperation (CIC) brought together the presidents of Puntland, HirShabelle, Galmudug and South West states, as well as Jubaland, of which Kismayo is the capital.
Addressing the gathering, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia encouraged the state leaders to strengthen cooperation between their governments and the federal authorities, noting how doing so can create stable conditions beneficial to all Somalis.
Mr. Keating listed the areas in which action was needed to achieve this goal. They included tangible progress in building security forces that are both capable and trusted, adopting a justice model, clarifying constitutional arrangements and power-sharing arrangements, passing an electoral law, and increasing revenues on the basis of resource- and revenue-sharing agreements.
“Without these, all Somalis stand to lose – with them, everybody wins, including the millions of people who deserve a better quality of life,” the UN envoy said. “Success depends upon trust between and collective action by the federal government and Federal Member States.”
The Special Representative emphasized that the meeting in Kismayo provided an opportunity to move things forward in the right direction.
Asides from addressing the CIC, Mr. Keating was also due to hold one-on-one meetings with each of the state leaders – Presidents Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas of Puntland, Ahmed Duale Gelle of Galmadug, Mohamed Abdi Ware of Hirshabelle, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden of South West State and, the gathering’s host, Sheikh Ahmed Madobe of Jubaland – to discuss issues pertinent to each state.
Later, the UN official visited the port of Kismayo, where he spoke with Jubaland’s minister of finance and learned about the economic and trade activity enabled by the city’s location on the Indian Ocean, and the plans to improve the port’s infrastructure.