Somaliland: President Bihi hosts UN SRSG Somalia in Hargeisa

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Somalilandsun-  The UN SRSG to Somaliland and  Somalia  James Swan is in Somaliland where he held discussions with a government team led by president Muse Bihi, at the Hargeisa presidency.

In a post meeting joint press breifing with Amb James Swan the somaliland foreign affairs minister and International Cooperation minister Yasin Haji Mahmud Faraton said that the two sides had an amicable discussion on many fronts.

“while we discussed several issues of import was on initiatives aimed at building mutual confidence and fostering dialogue between #Hargeisa and #Mogadishu, Amb Swan said in a post meeting  statement belo0

Somaliland foreign minister Prof Yasin Faraton and Amd Swan hold a oress breifing in Hargeisa

verbatim excerpts of a press statement issued by the UN SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE JAMES SWAN during a press briefing at the Somaliland presidency in Hargeisa  

Quote “Good morning and Happy New Year to all of you.

I thank President Musa Bihi Abdi, his team, and the people of Somaliland for their warm welcome.

I last visited Hargeisa six months ago. I intend to continue to visit regularly for discussions with senior officials as well as non-governmental actors on developments in Somaliland.   The United Nations maintains a full-time office in Hargeisa and implements a wide range of programmes to benefit the people of Somaliland.

During this visit, I was honoured to meet with President Bihi and members of his cabinet, civil society representatives, political party leaders, and international partners working in Somaliland.  I also visited a disability skills project and a wildlife rescue project.

The United Nations welcomes initiatives aimed at building mutual confidence and fostering dialogue between Hargeisa and Mogadishu.  We believe there are many areas in which greater cooperation could improve security, promote economic growth, and improve the lives of the people.

UN and Somaliland government officials at meeting in Hargeisa

W1e encourage rapid progress to complete all necessary steps for Somaliland to hold parliamentary elections in 2020. We welcome the inter-party dialogue and urge implementation of the recent agreements that would enable preparations for elections to be held in 2020.  We call on Somaliland authorities to ensure respect for freedom of speech and assembly, as well as the ability of political parties to organise and function. Such political space is essential for a credible process.

We have noted positively recent efforts to address longstanding disputes in Sool and Sanaag — including the aftermath of the 2018 Tukaraq fighting — through dialogue and constructive approaches to ease tensions and reduce the risk of further conflict.  We urge that these efforts be maintained and reinforced.

We are committed to continuing United Nations engagement with Somaliland and our many programmes in support of its people.  With 16 United Nations offices, agencies, funds, and programmes active in Somaliland, our support covers a wide range of governance, security, development, and humanitarian programmes.  As examples, the UN’s work includes support to primary schools, equipping teachers with the skills and materials to provide a sound basic education. We provide assistance to internally-displaced people and refugees in Somaliland, fleeing conflict elsewhere or forced to move by drought.  We support the rule of law, policing and the justice system. The UN’s work is diverse, but the common thread is that it aims to make a practical and positive difference to the people and public services of Somaliland.

Again, I thank our hosts for the kind reception.  I look forward to continuing regular visits to Hargeisa to maintain our communication and collaboration and to follow up on the important issues we have discussed this week.Thank you.Unquote

Though  variius issues pertinent to the UN engagement with Somaliland were on the menu the urgent matters most importantce and concern to the international are revival of stalled talks with Somalia and oft postponed parliamentary and local council elections.

The contentious ssue of elections is to be finalized , presumably , tomorrow 10th January during a planned meeting the third in almost a month between President Bihi and chiefs of the two opoosition parties of Wadani and UCID Abdirahman Irro and Eng Feisal A Warabe respectively.

It is no coincidence that SRSG  Swan is in the country on the day the two opposition politicians whom he shall meet are returning from foreign visits for the meeting with President Bihi.

So one would not be misconceived for surmising that the real and covert motive behind the current visit by the UN SRSG to Hargeisa is to ensure that the oft postoned elections become a thing of the past.

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