Somalia: Puntland responds to Federal Govt’s comment over oil deals
BOSSASO, Somalia Sept 8, 2014 (Garowe Online)-Puntland Government in northern Somalia once again reiterated it has a full right to exploit large reserves of oil and natural gas as enshrined in Provisional Federal Constitution on Monday, Garowe Online reports.
Speaking at a press conference in Bossaso port City, Puntland Petroleum and Minerals Agency Director Isse Mohamud Farah (Dhollowaa) said Federal Government of Somalia’s recent comment on regional oil deals is provocative and could worsen the already strained bilateral relations between Mogadishu and Garowe.
“As you know, Somalia Federal Government [more recently] talked about oil and gas issues. I hereby tell you that [Federal Government] erroneously raised the matter and the remarks disclosing regional governments can’t strike oil agreements with foreign companies don’t comply with both Puntland and Federal constitutions,” Dhollawaa said, referring to powers delegated to Federal states in accordance with article 55 of Provisional Federal Constitution.
Moreover, he noted that Puntland suspended cooperation with Mogadishu-based Federal Government and such comments might deepen political dispute.
Puntland previously rebuffed the return of Anglo-Dutch oil company, Shell PLC, accusing Somalia Government of undermining national unity.
UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea warned in 2013 confidential report that Western commercial oil exploration may spark new conflict in Somalia: "These inconsistencies, unless resolved, may lead to increased political conflict between federal and regional governments that risk exacerbating clan divisions and therefore threaten peace and security," the UN report noted.
The debate over natural resource management continues to gain moment in Somalia as weak central government in Mogadishu has locked horns with federated states.