Somalia: Puntland denies peace deal with Somaliland over Tukaraq
GAROWE, Puntland - Puntland State of Somalia has on Sunday rebuffed claims that it reached peace pact with the country's breakaway northern region of Somaliland over Tukaraq, Garowe Online reports.
The denial came as the International community is pushing both warring states to engage in dialogue and end their differences through negotiations instead of the beating of war drums.
In a press conference held on Sunday, the committee of defense of Puntland stated that the government will use its military to reclaim parts of Puntland which were invaded by Somaliland beginning with Tukaraq.
Puntland's minister for Information, Abdi Hirsi Ali [Qarjab], ruled out any agreement with Somaliland over the conflict in Tukaraq, where there have been clashes since January 2018 as long as separatists continue to hold Puntland territory.
“We are telling the fascist government led by Muse Bihi if you desire to negotiate with us; you must first go back to where you historically belong, where your people lived, we will never negotiate about Sool and Sanag," said Qarjab.
Qarjab has categorically stated that negotiations will only commence when Somaliland forces are taken out of Sool and Sanag regions, which are the epicenter of the conflict.
For his part, Puntland Interior Minister, Abdullahi Tima-cade who is a member of the committee has solemnly stated that there will be a ‘fight’ not unless Somaliland leaves Puntland’s borders; urging the public to be ready to wage war against the invaders.
The tension has been rising since last January when Somaliland forces captured Tukaraq from Puntland following an attack which led the renewal of the feud between the states.
The clashes in Sool region came as Puntland prepares for parliamentary and presidential elections in 2019. Politicians and aspirants warned that the elections might be postponed if the conflict escalates.