The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia welcomes the agreement reached yesterday by Presidents Abdiweli Mohamed Ali “Gaas” of Puntland and Abdikarim Hussein Guled of Galmudug state and brokered by Prime Minister Abdirashid Ali Omar Sharmarke to extend the current ceasefire in Gaalkacyo and establish a two-kilometre-wide buffer zone between their security forces stationed in the city.
An international ceasefire team led by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and supported by the UN has been deployed to Gaalkacyo today.
It began its work by meeting with the two state presidents, the Prime Minister and representatives of the communities on both sides of the conflict.
The international ceasefire team’s role will be to work with the 18-member joint committee of Puntland and Galmudug representatives to advise on and support practical arrangements for implementing the ceasefire and building confidence between the two state administrations that will be conducive to a lasting peace and reconciliation process.
Primary responsibility for enforcing and monitoring an agreed ceasefire in and around the disputed city rests with the two state presidents and their security forces.
IGAD and UN team members will work closely with both sides to ensure that the agreement reached by Presidents Guled and “Gaas” in Gaalkacyo yesterday is fully implemented and honoured.
Definitive cessation of hostilities in Gaalkacyo is essential for the return of the city’s displaced residents to their homes, as well as for the success of efforts to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict.
The UN, African Union, European Union and IGAD stand ready to support both state presidents and community leaders in Gaalkacyo as they agree on steps that will build confidence, deter spoilers from undermining the ceasefire, and restore hope to the city’s besieged civilian population.
“The deployment of the ceasefire team to Gaalkacyo today is a sign of the importance that the international community attaches to the resolution of this conflict,” said Michael Keating, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Somalia. “The team will advise the parties on ceasefire implementation and monitoring and build the capacity and confidence of the Joint Committee to consolidate the ceasefire. This will lay the basis for talks to resolve the underlying problems that are causing the conflict.”