26 February 2013

Somalia: Ministerial Delegation Will 'Consider' Taking Part in Jubaland Convention

Kismayo — A Somali Federal Government (SFG) ministerial delegation who visited Kismayo on Monday said that they would "consider" participating in the Jubaland state formation convention after failing to move the conference to Mogadishu, Garowe Online reports.

Following a statement on by SFG Minister of Interior Abdikarim Hassan Guled who said that the SFG would be holding a state formation convention for Jubaland - which had already been underway by the Jubaland community - the minister led a delegation to Kismayo.

Sources in Mogadishu said that the delegation used grounded Horn Air Aviation's plane - without the consent of company officials - to depart to Kismayo. The plane carried Minister of Finance, Minister of Security and Minister Guled who met with Jubaland officials in Kismayo to discuss the recent conflict and the Jubaland state formation process.

Moallim Mohamed Ibrahim, spokesman for the Jubaland convention organizing committee, told Somali media that the meeting with the SFG officials occurred at the Kismayo airport.

According to local sources in Kismayo, the delegation from Mogadishu requested that the Jubaland state convention be held in Mogadishu. The sources told GO that Kismayo interim officials told the delegation that it's only fitting that the state formation process be held in Kismayo and not Mogadishu.

The ministerial delegation was quoted as saying that they would "consider if they could participate in the state formation convention", that is slated for the coming days.

The officials also discussed the recent conflict in Kismayo between armed militia and police which resulted in 9 deaths. Kismayo officials stated that the situation had been eased and a mediation committee had already interceded in the matter.

The SFG delegation returned to Kismayo and sources tell us that they're consulting with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud whether or not the SFG should take part in the Jubaland state convention.

Spokesman Ibrahim told Somali media that Jubaland officials have always extended their state formation invitations to the SFG but haven't received a concrete answer. Mr. Ibrahim said that the Jubaland conference was delayed initially so that SFG officials could send representatives to attend.

The community led Jubaland state formation process has been underway for the past few years and has come under pressure by Somali government officials in Mogadishu, who have opposed the state formation process, despite the legitimacy of state-building under the country's Federal Constitution.

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