UN envoy for Somalia visits Southwest State, seeks collaboration
BAIDOA, Somalia - Continuing his inaugural visits to regional centres following his recent arrival in the country, the United Nations envoy to Somalia, James Swan, visited South West State (SWS) today, where he met with President Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed ‘Laftagareen.’
In the state’s provisional state capital, Baidoa, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia discussed with President Laftagareen the various ways in which the world body and the SWS authorities collaborate to have a positive impact on the lives of the state’s inhabitants.
“I’m grateful to President Laftagareen for hosting me in Baidoa today, where I have come to strengthen our collaboration regarding political, capacity-building and humanitarian activities,” Mr. Swan said, “and to tell the people of South West State that the UN family is striving to respond to their needs so we have a real, positive impact on the multiple challenges that the state faces, in order to build together the institutions that it deserves.”
The UN Special Representative, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), emphasized the importance of the mutually supporting activities carried out by the state authorities, the UN offices, agencies and programmes, and the African Union Mission in Somalia.
Through its local office, which is the second-largest in the country after its Mogadishu-based office, UNSOM supports SWS on a number of key projects. These include the construction of rehabilitation centres for former members of violent extremist groups, relocating internally displaced persons, and opening the important transit and commercial route between Mogadishu and Baidoa, which is expected to contribute to unlocking SWS’s economic potential.
On this regional visit – the envoy’s fourth following trips to Puntland, Jubaland and HirShabelle – the UN envoy also underlined how a good relationship between the Federal and state governments in Somalia is important for strengthening federalism, if it is based on strong institutional foundations and respect for the law and if both levels of government share a common vision and values to benefit all Somalis.
“We hope that a good relationship between the Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal Member States can contribute to a more functional federal system,” Swan said.
As with his other visits, the Special Representative was accompanied by officials from the UN system in Somalia, including representatives from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Mine Action Service, Takeshi Moriyama and Qurat-Ul-Ain Sadozai, respectively.