With his first planned trip to a regional centre coinciding with tensions between the federal and state governments, the new United Nations envoy to Somalia encouraged Somalis to work together to find their own solutions to their problems.
The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Haysom, visited Kismayo, the capital of Jubaland, a Federal Member State in the country’s south, with his counterpart from the African Union (AU), the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Francisco Madeira.
“I’m aware that Somalia is not Mogadishu, Mogadishu is not Somalia – it’s necessary for me to visit the regions to see my own staff, but also to see how people live across the breadth and length of Somalia,” Mr. Haysom said.
“I’m also coming here at a difficult moment in the relationship between the Federal [Member] States and Federal Government, and I’m here with my colleague from the African Union, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, to really encourage all of the different parts and levels of Somali political life to work together,” he added in a joint press encounter with Mr. Madeira and Jubaland’s President Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe.
“We are convinced that Somalia needs all of its people to work together and to find a solution as to how to work together,” Mr. Haysom said. “We say in my part of the world – I come from southern Africa – that the doctor cannot take medicine on behalf of the patient. What we can do is to encourage the patient to take their medicine and find a solution which the Somalis themselves must find.”
Earlier, the UN and AU officials had met with President Madobe, and heard first-hand his views on the recent tensions.
“We had a long discussion about wide ranging issues in Somalia, for example, the conflict between the FGS [Federal Government of Somalia] and Federal State Members. We shared with him our view on how the conflict can be resolved. We also stated that Somalia needs true and durable solutions to the problems facing it,” President Madobe said in the joint press encounter.
He also welcomed the new UN Special Representative, noting his previous service in countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan.
“It was a good day for the people of Jubaland that the new UN envoy to Somalia visited us today,” President Madobe added. “He has vast knowledge about conflict and countries that have experienced war like Somalia.”
In his comments to the media, Ambassador Madeira flagged the importance of hearing directly from those involved in the recent tensions.
“I want to thank President Madobe because he has been very open with us; he spoke with us and he told us his feelings,” the AU official said. “This will help us to see how we can be of better use to Somalia, to its people and the Federal Member States.”