Puntland President Meets with UN Representative, Discusses Cutting Ties with Federal Government

Published: March 31, 2024

Garowe, Puntland – President Said Abdullahi Deni of Puntland welcomed the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Somalia, Catriona Laing, to his office on Sunday, where they discussed political issues, development, and humanitarian aid.

The meeting was attended by top Puntland officials, including the Vice President, and ministers of interior, planning, health, fisheries, humanitarian affairs, and women and family affairs.

After the meeting concluded, the leaders held a press conference. President Deni stated that the discussions were important given the current situation in Somalia. “We discussed how the international community could work closely with Puntland after the decision we announced on Sunday night to cut ties with the Federal Government,” he said, referring to Puntland’s position released the previous evening.

For her part, Ms. Laing, who was making her fourth visit to Puntland, expressed gratitude to President Deni. She revealed that their talks covered development programs, promotion of humanitarian aid, issues like malnutrition and cholera, and the stalled process of completing the federal constitution.

“We saw a program prepared by the government in terms of development and humanitarianism, especially fishing, which is important if it is worked well because Puntland has a long coast,” Ms. Laing stated.

On the political front, she said, “The second issue we discussed is what is going on with the completion of the federal constitution. We have seen the position of Puntland, but we want to move forward.”

Ms. Laing added that President Deni promised dialogue with the Federal Government would continue to find an inclusive process, unite the country, and define the powers of the Federal Government and member states.

The meeting underscored the growing rift between Puntland and the central government, with the semi-autonomous region seeking greater autonomy and international engagement amid an unresolved constitutional process.