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Puntland calls again for urgent consultative forum on Somalia's future

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online
Puntland president Said Abdullahi Deni delivering speech at the consultative conference in Garowe

GAROWE, Puntland – For the second time since assuming office in Jan. 2019, Puntland state president Said Abdullahi Deni has called for a consultative conference on Somalia’s future and end current rift, Garowe Online reports.

Deni urged the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States to resolve the differences and put the interests of Somalia first and work together to rebuild the war-torn Horn of Africa country.

Speaking at the conclusion a three-day wider Puntland consultative conference wrapped up on Tuesday, March 17, the president has invited FGS and FMS leaders to a joint meeting in the state capital Garowe.

This week, Deni led a galaxy of community leaders, politicians, former leaders and the state's representatives to the FGS who gathered in Garowe Sunday, Monday and Tuesday amid rocky relations with Farmajo’s administration.

The meeting issued a host of demands to the federal government on Tuesday, just immediately after the conclusion of the three-day consultative conference in Garowe, amid escalating divisions with Mogadishu.

A communiqué issued at the end of Garowe conference, the second biggest gathering since Puntland’s inception in 1998 called FGS to leave the constitutional matters for the next government to finalize it.

It further said, “one person one vote polls” cannot be held this year in Somalia due to lack preparedness and unresolved political crisis and term extension for the president and parliament will not be accepted.

But at Garowe, delegates juggled with recently assented petroleum and electoral laws, which among others, the states decried the decision to exclude them from consultations, leading to the current standoff.

The communiqué said if the FGS continues to neglect and overstep the country’s draft constitution and the Federal system, Puntland state will evoke article 4 of its constitution, which allows for secession.

Under extreme circumstances, the article says, if Somalia fails to agree on federal systems, the instabilities and wars continue indefinitely, the state will have no option other than to disengage and chart its own path.

With the uncertainty in Somalia, stakeholders have been intensifying calls for constructive dialogue between FGS and federal states, although President Farmajo has often given it a wide berth much to the disappointment of its masterminds.

Worthy to note, the United States and the UN, which are key stakeholders in the stabilization of Somalia, have already endorsed the universal suffrage model. But critics argue that already, the country is yet to register voters and identify electoral units.

In reference to the recent border row with Somaliland, Puntland officials demanded that Somalia boycott unitary calls with Hargeisa, adding that "we must be involved in the process if at all it has to continue".

Currently, there are talks to reunite Somaliland with Somalia, but they have dragged due to internal feuds. Recently, Ethiopian PM Ahmed Abiy tried to broker a deal, but the talks are still at infantry stages. Somaliland declared it's independence from Mogadishu in 1991 after decades of civil war.

To further stabilize FGS's relationship with federal states, President Deni also asked political stakeholders to contemplate having a forum in Garowe to deliberate on the impending December polls.


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