Garowe — Puntland government in northern Somalia has suspended cooperation with the Somali Federal Government in Mogadishu until the country's constitution is restored, Garowe Online reports.
President Farole gave the keynote address on Thursday evening at a celebratory event held at Puntland State House in Garowe marking 15 years since Puntland's statehood was founded in 1998.
President Farole said that Puntland was founded in 1998 to establish law and order in the territory and to help establish a federal system of government for Somalia.
"If Puntland had existed as it does today in 1991 when Mogadishu collapsed, then Puntland would not have collapsed. This is among the benefits of federalism," President Farole said.
The Puntland leader spoke at length about the process to establish the Federal Government in Mogadishu, noting the sacrifices of life and limb made to ensure that Somalia had a functioning national government.
"However, the federal constitution is the fundamental thing that keeps Somalia together. Without the constitution, Puntland is not married to Mogadishu; Puntland is only married to its state constitution," President Farole declared, to the crowd's applause.
He criticized the Federal Government for failing to print new Somali Shilling currency and to help Somali markets recover, despite Puntland's repeated appeals and the March 11 agreement signed in Garowe between President Farole and Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon.
President Farole condemned Somali federal officials for preventing Sudanese scholarships for Puntland students, saying: "Do they [Federal Government] expect us to travel to Mogadishu so Sudanese scholarships can be distributed? What era are we in? Who do they think we are?" he asked to the crowd's applause.
"Puntland educational certificates do not require Mogadishu's stamp of approval. If anything, Puntland should approve Mogadishu's educational certificates, because Puntland has a unified curriculum, functioning institutions, standardized examinations, and an educational policy," said President Farole.
Continuing, he said: "Puntland will suspend all cooperation and relations with Somali Federal Government until the country's genuine federal constitution is restored. Puntland does not recognize the tampered constitution the Federal Government now uses and Puntland does not recognize any law passed by Federal Parliament using the tampered constitution. Puntland considers the tampered constitution as Mogadishu regional government's constitution, not Somalia's federal constitution."
New Deal Conference
President Farole declared that Puntland "will attend the New Deal conference in Brussels in September only with its own name, status and will speak on its own behalf. No entity will represent Puntland except Puntland government," he added.
The Puntland leader said that he informed the European Union delegation that visited Garowe on July 25 that Puntland will attend the New Deal conference with its own status, or will not attend at all.
"If our condition is not satisfied, we will not attend, but we will forward priorities in our new Five Year Development Plan to Brussels to be incorporated into the New Deal Compact for Somalia," said President Farole.
Puntland has had strained relations with Mogadishu in recent years. Somalia's president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has yet to address Puntland's concerns about the country's federal constitution.