UN envoy for Somalia pays first visit to breakaway Somaliland
HARGEISA, Somaliland - On his first visit to Somaliland since taking office, the United Nations Secretary-General’s new Special Representative underlined the importance of dialogue in addressing the region’s challenges.
“I want to take this occasion to emphasize the importance of building and maintaining open channels of communication to resolve differences peacefully and constructively,” the UN envoy, James Swan, said.
He also urged further efforts by political leaders on Somaliland to organize parliamentary and local elections.
During his two-day visit to the Somaliland capital of Hargeisa, the UN official met with Somaliland’s President Muse Bihi Abdi and senior members of his cabinet, as well as women leaders and beneficiaries of UN programmes.
In his meetings, the Special Representative reiterated the world body’s commitment to supporting Somaliland.
“Part of the reason I’m here is to help strengthen our collaboration regarding humanitarian activities, economic development and capacity-building for local governance and service delivery,” Swan said.
“I’ve been pleased to see some of the projects helping refugees and community members alike acquire skills to support themselves and their families,” he added. “The communities hosting refugees and asylum-seekers are already making a big contribution to these groups, and these programmes not only equip the refugees with critical skills but also benefit the wider community.”
Earlier, the UN official visited Somaliland’s Civil Service Institute, which is supported by the Ministry of Interior and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and is putting in place the skills to manage basic local services benefitting the people of Somaliland.
Swan was on his first visit to Somaliland since taking up his post in late June. He was accompanied by a senior official from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UNDP – Takeshi Moriyama, Serge Tissot and Jocelyn Mason, respectively.