14 June 2013

Somalia: Somaliland Bans UNSOM From Operating in Region Following Envoy Visit

Following UN Special Representative to Somalia Nicholas Kay's first visit to Hargeisa Thursday (June 13th), Somaliland officials said the new UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) would not be allowed to operate in the region.

"Somaliland has remained an island of relative peace and stability in an insecure region and we believe that there are lessons that can be learned here about stabilising the whole region." Kay said according to a UN press release. "We are therefore here to learn and to support initiatives that will lead to sustainable peace, stability and prosperity in Somalia and beyond."

Somaliland regional Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omar accompanied Kay on a visit to the mass graves in Hargeisa, a memorial to the suffering that occurred from 1984 to 1988 under former President Mohamed Siad Barre.

Kay praised Somaliland's work in strengthening democratic institutions and holding regular elections, pledging UN support for the region's continued efforts to establish a strong justice system.

"Our office in Hargeisa will be pro-actively engaging the administration and civil society to explore areas of further co-operation," he said.

However in a statement to the press later, Omar said Somaliland has decided not to allow UNSOM to operate in the region.

"We think the main purpose of the new UNSOM office is to expand the agendas of the Somali federal government," Omar said.

Omar said he informed Kay of the decision.

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