Garowe Online (Garowe)

11 March 2013

Somalia: PM Shirdon and President Farole Sign 'Critical' Agreement

Garowe — Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon and Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole signed a 7 point agreement in Garowe, which will build trust, cooperation and development between the two sides, Garowe Online reports.

The agreement came after the Puntland Cabinet and Somali Federal Government (SFG) cabinet held meetings in Garowe.

On Monday the two sides came to an agreement to build confidence and coordination; to improve security coordination; to improve finance and development between the two sides; enable federalism; to support the democratization process in Puntland; the returning of lost property and establishing the upper house of parliament.

Security

The two sides agreed to "share intelligence, expertise and harmonize security institutions", and assured to work together fight terrorism and piracy.

Puntland and the SFG also agreed to build a National Military consisting of recruits from every region and district in Somalia. The two sides welcomed the recent UN Security council resolution to partially lift the arms embargo, agreeing to work together on ensuring it was not violated.

Development and Finance

The two officials agreed to open trade with the international community, and to cooperate to improve the financial situation in the country. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud addressed the recent rise in inflation across the country and said that his government would tackle the issue.

A universal tariff system across the country was also agreed on.

Concerning development the two sides agreed that Puntland receive its share in development and humanitarian aid given to Somalia.

The agreement also required that, "the federal government welcome and facilitate any foreign investments being given to Puntland."

Finally, Puntland agreed to award the SFG's quota on revenue generated from ports and airports in Puntland.

Federalism

According to a source in the Puntland government, the issue of federalism had been hotly debated by the two sides. On Monday they reached a decision to respect and facilitate the state building processes.

"The two sides have reached an agreement for the Federal Government to respect the state building system according to constitution; at the same time prevent any impediments towards the state building process."

Democratization process in Puntland

The current democratization process in Puntland is heating up as the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission announced on Sunday that all 6 political parties can compete in district elections scheduled for May.

On Monday, the two sides agreed to support and ensure the democratization process' success in Puntland. The international community has also given its assurances to support the process in Puntland.

Returning of Lost Property

The two sides agreed that the SFG speed up the returning or refunding of lost property - looted in the 1991 civil war - to ensure that the reconciliation process is genuine. They proposed that an independent body be appointed whose findings have clout, to ensure that property from Somalis abroad and at home be returned.

Building the Upper House

On the final issue the two sides agreed that the Upper House - three representatives from each pre-1991 regions in Somalia - be built as stated in the Provisional Federal Government.

After reaching the agreement the two held a press conference wrapping up Prime Minister Shirdon's visit to Puntland. President Farole thanked the Prime Minister for his visit to Puntland and hoped for better coordination between the two administrations.

"We reached a very critical agreement that will build trust and confidence across the board. So the federal government, built and selected to help lift Somalia out of conflict and political inactiveness can achieve its goal," said President Farole.

Prime Minister Shirdon stated that he was really surprised about the peaceful security situation in Puntland and promised that the SFG would support Puntland in all sectors.

"We were really surprised about the peaceful situation in Puntland and assure that the SFG will assist in fighting terrorism in Puntland. What I also found in Puntland was that the people of Puntland really support the Federal Government.

As written in the constitution, I want to state that we agreed to provide Puntland's with its fair quota in all humanitarian and development aid that Puntland is entitled to. I believe that this agreement will better our relationship and ensure our ties get only stronger," said Prime Minister Shirdon.

Shirdon departed from Garowe to Galmudug state where he will continue his "Listening Tour".

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