Somalia: UN Somalia Boss Meets Puntland Leaders

Progress and remaining challenges related to Somalia's national priorities for 2020 - including debt relief, holding 'one person, one vote' elections, strengthening security and finalizing the federal constitution - were among the topics covered today in a meeting of the leadership of Puntland State and the United Nations envoy to Somalia.

"I also shared the international community's real concern about the risks posed by the current political impasse between the Federal Government and Federal Members States - it is the view of the United Nations that Somalia's leaders must urgently come together, in a spirit of national unity, to overcome differences and find consensus on how best to move forward, in the interest of the Somali people," the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, said.

The UN official was speaking after meeting with Puntland's President Said Deni in the state capital of Garowe, while on one of his regular visits to Somalia's Federal Member States, during which discusses local and national issues with state leaders.

"President Deni informed me of plans to hold, in the coming week, a Puntland-wide, inclusive consultation to discuss issues of importance to Puntland and the nation," Mr. Swan said. "I look forward to learning of the outcome of this initiative."

Their talks also touched upon local efforts on economic development, democratization and security, including the new Puntland Development Plan - on which the United Nations team in Puntland has been engaging and looks forward to further support - as well as the work of the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission, which ties into the Puntland Government's moves to implement its commitment to democratization and holding local elections.

The issue of recurrent violence in Sool and Sanaag was also covered in the discussions, particularly the need to bring an end to it and create space for peacebuilding activities, and ensure the necessary conditions to allow the United Nations to expand its support to the local population.

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