Puntland President denies official meeting with Somalia PM
GAROWE, Somalia August 27, 2014 (Garowe Online)-Amid strained relations, the President of Somalia’s Puntland Government Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas has denied that he met with Federal Government Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed during his official visit to the neighboring country of Ethiopia, Garowe Online reports.
Speaking to media members at Puntland State House on Wednesday, President Gaas revealed he did not hold talks with Mohamed about the political dispute between the two parties. On bilateral discussion, he said his delegation discussed mutual cooperation, cross-border trade, security interests and issues pertaining to health with Ethiopian government officials.
“There is economic inter-dependence between [Puntland and Ethiopia], we use large Ethiopian market and Ethiopia exports heads of livestock at our seaports,” Puntland leader went on.
When questioned on any secret meeting with Federal Government of Somalia’s Prime Minister, President Gaas acknowledged that they sighted each other in Addis Ababa Hotel: “We were in the same hotel. Our parliamentarians and clan elders issued a communal stance over Puntland-Federal Govt ties and gave green light to the opening of talks but in the presence of international community representatives”.
According to independent sources, Mohamed and Gaas set a date for talks in advance of their arrival in Addis Ababa, with Prime Minister Mohamed jetting off to Ethiopia for the second time in a week.
National Planning Minister Saed Abdullahi Dani reportedly brought the two together in Addis Ababa and the secret meeting ended in disagreement.
On July 31, Puntland re-suspended cooperation with Mogadishu-based Federal Government in a dispute over federalization process.