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Somalia: UN hails Puntland over commitment to defeat Al-Shabaab

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The United Nations is 'happy and convinced' with Puntland's commitment in the war to degrade and subsequently defeat Al-Shabaab in Somalia, special envoy James Swan said on Sunday, Garowe Online reports.

Puntland remains one of the most stable and strategic states in Somalia, a country that has struggled with negative ripples following the ouster of Siad Barre in 1991.

Speaking in Garowe on Sunday, Swan paid tributes to regional President Said Deni over his efforts in the fight against Al-Shabaab through financial and military support.

Swan, who was appointed in May, said: "We comment Puntland on its efforts to degrade Al-Shabaab relying mainly on its own forces and finances."

Puntland has her own army which has defended territorial integrity for decades now. The state supports her military through taxes collected from the local population.

United Nations supports UNSOM, which deals with humanitarian assistance and the AMISOM, which gives military support towards the stabilization of Somalia.

The UN envoy also lauded Puntland's commitment towards revamping the local economy, pointing out a recent collaboration between the state and Ethiopia on air travel.

"And the restart of Ethiopian Airlines in summer. Those are the signals of economic revival in Puntland. We can't continue to collaborate with you on economic resuscitation initiatives," he said.

On democracy, President Deni was hailed as the champion of 'liberalism' at the time Somalia is handling serious radical surgery in her systems for political stability.

"We also applaud Puntland government's strategy towards social-economic development and democracy," added Swan, who was appointed in May.

The former US ambassador to Djibouti also congratulated the North Eastern state for significant contributions towards reconciliation efforts between the Federal Government and the states.

Federal Government leader Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has been at loggerheads with the regional government. In recent weeks, he imposed sanctions on Jubaland following his differences with Ahmed Madobe.

President Said Deni, who attended the inauguration of Madobe a fortnight ago, condemned the sanctions and called for dialogue to end the impasse.

Reporting by Abuga Makori in Nairobi; Editing by Omar Nor