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Somalia: U.N. Special Envoy Praises Peace in Puntland, Pledges Support

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Office
The Puntland Presidency
E-mail: info@puntland-gov.net
Web: www.puntland-gov.net
The U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Somalia (SRSG) and Head of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), Ambassador Anthony P. Mahiga led a four-member U.N. delegation on his first official visit to Puntland State of Somalia.
Ambassador Mahiga’s delegation was received at Garowe International Airport on Wednesday morning by Puntland presidential staff, Cabinet ministers, and U.N. staff based in Garowe, the state capital of Puntland.
The delegation of the U.N. Special Envoy includes: Ms. Nene Bah, the Special Assistant of the UN SRSG; Mr. Fredrick Maliya, the regional coordinator for UNPOS; and Mr. Asido Yellow-Duke, the Military Adviser for UNPOS, all based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Mr. Abdi-aziz Mohamed, the National Political Officer for UNPOS, led the visiting delegation on a tour of key properties such as a new IDP settlement camp under construction, as well as the U.N. compound in Garowe.
After the tour, Ambassador Mahiga’s delegation was received at the State House in Garowe by the President of Puntland, His Excellency Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole).
The Puntland President and the U.N. Special Envoy held a closed-door meeting at the State House in Garowe.
The two officials emerged from the President’s office and held a joint discussion forum at the Conference Room in the presence of Cabinet officials, where President Farole summarized the key points of their discussion.
“We discussed issues regarding peace, stability and development in Somalia, as well as strategies for achieving sustainable peace across Somalia,” President Abdirahman Farole said.
The Government of Puntland presented exclusive coverage of the Galgala Conflict between Puntland government forces and rebels linked to Al Shabaab terror group. Puntland’s government declared military victory after seizing control of all terrorist hideouts and training camps in Galgala mountainous zone, southwest of Bossaso in Puntland’s Bari region.
The U.N. delegation was awed as they were shown various photographs from the three-month Puntland military offensive in Galgala area that concluded last month.
The photographs included: pictures of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs); an assortment of firearms, mortars, and ammunition; as well as the rugged hilly terrain where Puntland government forces conducted military operations targeting fighters responsible for bombings and assassinations inside Puntland and led by Mohamed Said Atom, who is on a U.N. security watch-list.
Addressing the conference room, Ambassador Mahiga said he was delighted to visit Puntland for the first time since his appointment as U.N. Special Envoy to Somalia last June.
“I have been longing to come and meet the people, make friends, and explain why I am here as your partner for peace,” Ambassador Mahiga said. “I have been longing to come and see the viability of Puntland State.”
He commended Puntland for “fighting international terrorism” and urged leaders to consolidate peace and security with economic development and opportunities for youth.
Ambassador Mahiga said he is a witness to the presence of a government in Puntland and acknowledged Puntland’s capacity to strengthen the peace using various strategies, including the last resort of military force as demonstrated during the Galgala Conflict.
He stated that the success of Puntland is “an example for the rest of Somalia.”
Ambassador Mahiga concluded: “There is heightened interest in Puntland because you have proven your capacity to work alone. I acknowledge and appreciate the great role you have played in combating piracy.”
He pledged international recognition and assistance for Puntland’s tough anti-piracy campaign: “A land based strategy to combat piracy is important and Puntland is an outstanding partner. We shall flag the world to help you.”
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Communications Office
The Puntland Presidency
E-mail: info@puntland-gov.net
Web: www.puntland-gov.net