Somalia: Galmadug and Puntland leaders meet in Galkayo ahead of Mogadishu conference
GALKAYO, Puntland - Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni on Friday hosted Ahmed Kariye alias Qoor Qoor at the presidential palace in Galkayo, with the meeting coming at least two months after the latter was inaugurated as Galmadug regional leader.
The Galmadug president, who was elected in February under controversial circumstances, arrived in the border town on Friday morning in the company of top government officials from Dhusamareb, for a meeting which focused on relations between the two federal states.
Multiple sources confided to Garowe Online that the two leaders also discussed national politics, which have left Somalia divided over the upcoming elections. To date, the country is yet to determine the date for elections and the likely model, something which has triggered criticism against the federal government of Somalia.
While Puntland has been enjoying relative stability, Galmadug is fresh from a disputed election, which saw Qoor Qoor's swearing-in delayed for a couple of months. There were also clashes within Dhusamareb which involved the moderate Sufi group ASWJ and the Somali National Army [SNA].
Although it's not clear what the two leaders discussed on national politics, regional states have been pushing for a conference which among others, is targeting to settle on the model for elections, distribution of seats, and sharing of proceeds from natural resources.
Early this week, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo formally called for a meeting between the FGS and member states, which is expected to take place on July 5 to 8 in Mogadishu. The president has been under pressure from international partners.
The meeting, Villa Somalia spokesperson Abdinur Mohamed said, will focus on national elections, security, Al-Shabaab menace, and strengthening of Somalia's economy. It's not clear who is going to take the mediation role during the conference.
Deni and Qoor Qoor, sources added, also discussed escalating insecurity incidents within Galmadug and Puntland, especially in Galkayo, which sits on the border of the two states. They agreed to mobilize resources towards combating unending Al-Shabaab attacks, reports indicate.
Al-Shabaab militants have intensified operations within the two states in recent weeks, leading dozens of people injured or dead. According to security reports, the militants have been targeting security forces and top government officials in the country.
For instance, Nugal Governor Abdisalam Hassan Hersi was killed in Garowe by the militants in April. Weeks later, the militants attacked and killed Mudug Governor Muse Nur in Galkayo, in a raid which left four others dead.
Puntland and Galmadug will now join forces in the elimination of the militants by mobilizing security forces, the two leaders reportedly agreed. The SNA troops have been also involved in combating the Al-Shabaab threat in the two states.
Although Galmadug, HirShabelle, and Southwest are deemed friendly to the federal government, there have been complaints about the distribution of national resources, hence the ongoing mobilization ahead of the July meeting. Puntland and Jubaland are perceived to be critical of the current administration.
On Thursday, Jubaland asked the Lower House of Federal Parliament to desist from debating and voting for contentious clauses about national elections until "we meet and discuss the way forward". The Lower House has been debating and passing the proposals by the Parliamentary ad-hoc committee on elections in the past one week.
Also, the meeting came just a day before the much anticipated historical presentation of proposed election laws by the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC], which is scheduled to submit the report in the house on Saturday.