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Somalia:Puntland President Speech at Constitutional Conference in Garowe

Puntland State of Somalia

H.E. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole)
President, Puntland State of Somalia

Opening Remarks
Somalia National Consultative Constitutional Conference

Garowe, Puntland State (Somalia)
December 21 – 23, 2011

English Transcript of President’s Speech Delivered in Somali Language

Mr. President; the Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament; the Prime Minister; the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG); Honorable Ministers and Parliamentarians; representatives of other Somali entities; the A.U. Commission Chairperson’s Special Representative; Distinguished Diplomats and Foreign Dignitaries; Conference delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a great honor and pleasure for me personally and for the Government and people of Puntland to welcome you all to Puntland State of Somalia to engage in the Somali National Consultative Constitutional Conference. Our State has consistently supported Somali peace and reconciliation processes and has been ready and eager to host a Somali national peace conference, since the 1990s.

Today is a historic day – for Puntland and for Somalia as a whole – as we Somalis take a major step forward in ongoing efforts of the peace process to complete the Federal Constitution – in an atmosphere of open debate, mutual respect and shared responsibility.

As we are gathered here today, let me recognize the massive effort and investment by the Government and people of Puntland State to host this historic Conference, and I would like to thank everyone who helped organize this Conference and all the participants. The Somali people are waiting for us to deliver – and we must deliver.

As we all know, this Conference is part of the Roadmap peace process initiated by Somali stakeholders and endorsed by the international community, through the U.N. Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS). The signed Roadmap document consists of four pillars (security; constitution and parliament reform; good governance; and political outreach and reconciliation) and maps out a clear timetable with benchmarks and compliance mechanisms. I can say positively that the Roadmap is the most important document produced for Somalia by the Somali people since the 2004 Transitional Federal Charter.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Puntland supports the Roadmap process and shall continue to do so, as the Roadmap is a product of the Kampala Accord for the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) and was ratified by the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP). The Roadmap expires on 20

August 2012, when the transition ends and a duly reformed and constituency-based Federal Parliament is expected to elect a new President for the Federal Republic of Somalia.Today, I will talk about the following points: 1) a brief account on Somalia, in particular Puntland State; 2) Parliamentary reforms and the Constituent Assembly; 3) Nationa security matters; and 4) piracy problems.

Allow me to refresh memories and to recall our recent history. Post-independence Somalia underwent a number of historic phases. We can generally categorize these phases as follows: the era of civilian democratic rule (1960 – 1969); the era of military dictatorship (1969 – 1991); and the current era, characterized by chronic conflict, uprooting of entire communities and exodus, and the ongoing efforts to re-establish the

Third Republic of Somalia.

National disintegration of Somalia is a direct result of over 20 years of authoritarian rule leading to 20 years of civil war. During the dictatorship era, there was a downward trend in the performance of public institutions. Civil rights violations appeared in the early years of the regime, which produced clan-based armed rebel factions, eventually contributed to the collapse of the central government in 1991 and the subsequent eruption of civil war.

Puntland State formation was the result of eight (8) years waiting in vain for the restoration of a national government in Somalia. Since its establishment, our State has made steady progress in the political and socio-economic landscape. Puntland has held three successful and peaceful presidential elections and currently we are advancing the democratization process towards a multi-party political system. For example:

The Puntland Electoral Commission Law was passed and the Commission was sworn-in on 17 July 2011; Puntland has prepared legislations paving the way for the formation of political associations; A referendum to adopt the Puntland Constitution is being planned; and Decentralization of authority from State-level to district-level is progressing; It is our hope and goal to guide Puntland State’s development towards a multi-party political system that bolsters stability and growth and strengthens security institutions to ensure the maintenance of law and order.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The case for success in Somalia has been different. There has been a series of attempts to bring together the Somali people and most attempts were unsuccessful. However, in 2004, adoption of the Transitional Federal Charter was achieved – upon which the current Transitional Federal Institutions are constitutionally built on. This Charter was produced after a two-year peace process, held in Kenya under the auspices of the Inter- Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), supported by the international community at large.

We are here today to debate the future direction of our country and to start the completion of the Somali Federal Constitution, which will replace the current Charter as the law of the land.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, we are here to make history for ourselves and for our people. We are not here for power-sharing or squabbling in this conference. We are here to bring peace and stability for Somalia and to restore our nation-state with a Constitution which protects the rights of individuals, States and the Federal Government.

Federalism, as ordained by the Charter, is a pre-condition for the renaissance of the longawaited Third Republic of Somalia. A stable and lawful Somalia will restore our country’s dignity as a respected member of the community of nations.

Parliamentary Reforms & Constituent Assembly

The Puntland Government believes that critical parliamentary reforms are necessary with a reasonable number of seats – as elsewhere in the world – based on constituency. We are confident that a reduced Somali Federal Parliament can be affordable and effective.

For adoption of the Constitution, it has been agreed in the Roadmap that a National Constituent Assembly will be formed to provisionally adopt the new Federal Constitution. This approach is workable under the present circumstances, but we must chart our path carefully.

National security

We all recognize the extremely difficult and fragile security conditions in Somalia, and particularly in the central and southern regions where terrorist groups and other violent militia have spread instability for the past 20 years. Puntland Government supports the courageous work being done by the TFG forces and allied AMISOM peacekeepers to remove Al Shabaab group from Mogadishu. We commend the troop-contributing countries for AMISOM – Uganda and Burundi – for sending their soldiers to fight terrorism and extremism. Further, we urge TFG and AMISOM forces to increase efforts to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the needy families.

As we have stated before, Puntland Government welcomes the Kenyan Army’s intervention in Jubba Valley regions of southern Somalia, supported by local forces, to liberate those regions from Al Shabaab terrorist group and we call upon them to minimize collateral damage. We are encouraged by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon’s historic visit to Mogadishu on 9 December 2011, whereby he declared support for the Kenyan Parliament’s endorsement of Kenyan soldiers to join the AMISOM peacekeeping force in Somalia. It is a welcome sign that the international community is seriously committed to restoring governance in Somalia, as our country needs to be liberated from terrorists, including foreign fighters.

In this regard, the Puntland Government once again calls upon the African Union and the U.N. Security Council to deploy AMISOM peacekeepers in Mudug Region – Puntland’s southern gate connecting to the central regions of Somalia.

Puntland Government is actively engaged to tackle the threat to our security and stability posed by Al Shabaab terrorists’ infiltration of northern Somalia. Terrorists are targeting and assassinating the best and brightest in Puntland society – they have targeted government officials, religious scholars, journalists, and community leaders, among others. We have arrested many suspected terrorists – some of them have been convicted in courts, while others await trial. As the joint effort between TFG forces, AMISOM peacekeepers and Kenyan troops continues to intensify their operations in southern Somalia, it has had a spillover effect in Puntland State. Puntland Government requires security strengthening support to provide better training, equipment, and incentives for our security personnel.

I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the security forces of Puntland State who work hard hours in difficult conditions to keep our State safe. May Allah protect you as you uphold law and order in our State.

Piracy problems

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We all recognize that piracy is a global phenomenon that has impacted Somalia and the global order. Piracy has contributed to insecurity in Somalia, through proliferation of weapons, and has impacted local trade by disrupting economic activities. Pirates have taken hostage innocent seafarers and piracy has led to the disruption of regional and international maritime trade.

I want to reiterate that Puntland Government continues its commitment to fight against piracy in a combined approach: first, by strengthening internal security measures; and second, by actively engaging local communities.

On the security front, I am announcing today that training for the Puntland Maritime Police Force (PMPF) is planning to resume. This is in line with the TFG-Puntland Cooperation Agreement of 29 August 2011, which called for the establishment of a Somali Marine Force. We are moving forward with an authorized anti-piracy training program for the PMPF, which is a professional, locally recruited coastal police force that will fight piracy and protect our marine resources.

The formation of the PMPF is in direct response to multiple U.N. Security Council Resolutions and urgent calls from the international community, calling on Somali authorities to build security and law enforcement institutions to address the piracy

problem. Puntland Government has notified the U.N. Security Council regarding this initiative in accordance with applicable procedures. Further, we are grateful to the U.A.E. for assisting this program and other humanitarian support in Puntland State of Somalia.

Our Government is also pursuing a community engagement program to assist with the rehabilitation of reformed pirates. The program features raising community awareness about piracy, promoting skills-development for youth and reformed pirates, and seeking alternative livelihoods particularly in the coastal communities.

I would like to conclude my remarks to thank all the organizers and participants of this historic Somali National Constitutional Conference. I would like also to thank the international community at large for providing generous and continuous support to the Somali people during this difficult time of our history, for hosting refugee exodus, for providing humanitarian assistance, and for ongoing efforts to stabilize Somalia.

I encourage all Somalis and Conference participants to forgive each other and renew broken trusts. I wish a successful outcome for this Conference, as Somalis from all

corners of the world, together with the international community, are waiting for us todeliver a meaningful outcome.

Thank you and God bless.
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