We are very pleased to be in Garowe today. I would like to thank His Excellency, President Said Abdullahi Deni, and his team, for the warm welcome extended to us today.
I am here today with the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ambassador Francisco Madeira; the European Union’s Ambassador to Somalia, Nicolas Berlanga; and, from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), its Head of Mission for Somalia, Jamal Ahmed Ibrahim.
This is our third group visit to a Federal Member State in the past two months. Recently, we have been to Baidoa and Galmudug and we will visit the remaining Federal Member States – Jubaland and Hirshabelle – in the coming weeks.
In our meeting today with the President, we discussed the importance of strengthening the relations between the Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal Member States.
We have been encouraged by the revitalization of the dialogue between the Federal Government and all the Federal Member States these past few months. This involved President Deni’s active role in the series of meetings that began in Dhusamareb in July and August, which led to the consultative meetings in Mogadishu in September and October, during which agreements on the electoral model were reached.
The dialogue and spirit of consensus which yielded these agreements need to continue in order to ensure that the national elections remain on track and are anchored in transparency, fairness and inclusivity. We continue to urge all of Somalia’s leaders to remain steadfast in their commitment to collaborating with each other as the electoral preparations progress.
At the same time, we believe that the resumption of such dialogue, on a regular basis, can help resolve outstanding issues. We wish to emphasize that the agreed electoral model should not be re-opened but has to be implemented in an acceptable, credible and transparent manner.
In particular, we stress that this will include ensuring that the 30 per cent quota for women in the parliamentary elections and the implementing bodies is achieved, and that any concerns regarding the composition of the delegate selection committees, the electoral committees, the Somaliland committee and Gedo are resolved by consensus, in a manner that ensures that the committees are non-partisan and that allows for fair and diverse representation.
In that last respect, it is our hope that Puntland will soon nominate its own eight members of its electoral committee, and we hope that also all Federal Member States, regional assemblies, will begin the preparations for their elections of the members of the Upper House of the Federal Parliament allocated to them.
On other priorities, we also encourage Puntland and all Federal Member States to engage the Federal Government to reach agreement on the next steps regarding the Provisional Federal Constitution, and also on the programme for 2021 for the expected new administration.
While here in Garowe, we also commended President Deni on his local efforts to respond to the impact of Cyclone Gati, one of the strongest storms ever to hit Somalia. It brought to the region more than a year’s worth of rain in two days, and left thousands displaced and at least eight people dead. The United Nations in Somalia and other partners are actively engaged in joint assessments of the damage and providing material assistance.
As we conclude our visit, we appreciate the warm welcome from the people of Puntland and its administration. The AU, EU, IGAD and UN will continue to stand with you as friends and partners.
Thank you, Mr. President.