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UN hails Puntland president's planned trip to Mogadishu over Somalia's future

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The United Nations [UN] becomes a high profile body to welcome planned visit to Mogadishu by Puntland President Said Deni, it announced, just under 72 hours after the pronouncement was made public.

For decades, the relationship between the federal government and member states has remained fairly uncertain, with both parties often raising a number of issues which makes their partnership untenable.

But in what was seen as an unprecedented move, Deni on Thursday revealed plans to visit Mogadishu to "lobby for a consultative forum which will bring together all stakeholders to discuss Somalia's future".

The stakeholders, he added, would for the first time "discuss Somalia issues" in Garowe. The Mogadishu trip would be followed by trips to federal states, which have been at loggerheads with FGS.

Although Deni did not express intentions to meet President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, the UN exuded confidence that the two leaders will hold a meeting to unlocked the current impasse in the country.

The UN, through special envoy James Swan, has been calling for dialogue between FGS and federal states. The two parties are yet to agree on a single national item in as may years.

"UN in Somalia commends President Deni’s intention to visit Mogadishu & is pleased Fed. Gov.’s delegation to Puntland Consultative Conference welcomed this," the body said in a tweet, Saturday.

"We look forward to the meeting between President Deni and President Farmajo to advance dialogue in the national interests," the tweet further read.

Among others, federal states have been calling for a suspension of petroleum and electoral laws, which were assented to without proper consultation, this precipitating the stalemate.

During the Puntland conference last week, delegates called for dialogue to unravel the issues, insisting that "Somalia will not progress if we fail to sit and talk, it's time we do this".

In December, the country is expected to hold the first universal suffrage polls, although several issues among them identification of constituencies and implementation of affirmative action remains unresolved.

But Puntland had dismissed the one-person-one-vote model, insisting that "Somalia is unprepared" for the model, recommending that the next government should be given authority to implement some of the suggestions.

Also, Puntland state, which enjoys relative stability, had demanded that the federal government ceases to "destabilize" federal states, which it insisted that they are "protected" by the transitional constitution.

For the last two years, Mogadishu has been accused of meddling in regional affairs, with the most recent being deployment of troops to Jubaland and Galmadug, a move that attracted retribution from international partners.

Despite the allegations, Farmajo has however extended his grip in power, seeking to consolidate certain regions that have traditionally opposed his administration even in the middle of international pressure.

No specific dates have been issued for the much-anticipated trip by Deni to Mogadishu, Somalia's capital. Further, no dates have been slated for the proposed dialogue in Garowe.


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