Mogadishu — The president of Somalia's federal government Hassan Sheikh Mohamud addressed major national issues including Somaliland separatism while speaking at the opening ceremony of a new center for orphans in Mogadihsu, Garowe Online reports.
President Hassan's comments on Somaliland coincided with May 18, as the separatist region in northwestern Somalia celebrated 22 years since unilaterally declaring independence from Somalia in 1991.
"Somalia unity is a must and I call upon our brothers in Somaliland to swallow their ambition [for independent nationhood]," said President Hassan, at the opening ceremony of the new orphan center named Anadol and built by Turkish aid agencies.
"We wish no conflict with our brothers in Somaliland and we are ready to strengthen the unity of Somalia, to compromise over the past grievances and we are committed to peacefully seeking the unity of Somalia," said President Hassan.
Speaking about Jubaland, in his first public comments since Jubaland President Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madobe) was elected by convention delegates on may 15, President Hassan said: "The Kismayo Conference [for Jubaland formation] is what we warned against. It is now clear that Conference was excluded certain groups from the political process."
Continuing, President Hassan said: "We are not against federal system in Somalia. The [Federal] Government has prepared a plan to implement federalism in Somalia. I call on the Jubaland communities to work with the Federal Government to establish regional administrations, in line with the Federal Constitution, as the Federal Government is responsible for the whole country. Al Shabaab must be removed from parts of Jubaland regions, so the people may live in peace."
President Hassan's public comments on Jubaland come on the same day a delegation from Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional bloc, is visiting Kismayo and meeting with Jubaland's new leaders.
Some sources have accused the Somali Federal Government of secretly backing the surprise self-declaration of former Kismayo warlord Col. Barre Hirale, who declared himself 'Jubaland president' moments after the Jubaland convention elected Ahmed Madobe.
Under Somalia's federal constitution, states form voluntarily with the backing of local communities. The Jubaland conference has been underway in Kismayo for the past eight months, featuring tough negotiations for the future political balance in the Jubaland regions of southern Somalia.
Somalia's federal government, however, has rejected the Jubaland state formation process and its outcome, which enjoys support from Jubaland communities who partook in the convention in Kismayo.