Good morning, Mr. President, honourable members of the cabinet and members of the press.
I would like to begin by thanking you – President Said Abdullahi Deni, your government, and the people of Puntland for the warm welcome that we’ve received during our visit here in Garowe.
It is a pleasure to be back in Garowe, on one of my regular visits to Federal Member States. I am also honoured to be joined today by the head of UNFPA, Mr Adeniyi Ojuolape, and also the head of our Garowe field office, Mr Guy Griffin.
In our meeting today with President Deni and members of his cabinet we discussed a range of local and national issues of importance.
President Deni and I exchanged ideas on how best to advance Somalia’s state-building processes now that a new Federal Government is in place. We discussed the importance of a deep collaboration between the Federal Government and Federal Member States, to lead progress on national priorities.
President Deni reiterated his firm commitment to Puntland’s process of democratization, following the completion of the first phase of local elections last year in Eyl, Ufeyn and Qardho. He briefed me on the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission’s initial plans to roll out the process to other districts. I underlined the United Nations’ readiness to support and indeed, a visiting UN technical team is meeting with TPEC today.
I commend the Puntland Government and people for your continued commitment to deliver direct local elections, as enshrined in Puntland’s Constitution. Your efforts here we hope will also inspire and support the broader process of democratization across Somalia, at the federal and local levels.
On security, I expressed my concern about last week’s troubling incident at the Bossaso airport. President Deni assured me of the Government’s commitment and active efforts to ensure continued stability and promote reconciliation.
The ongoing drought is a crisis that is causing need and suffering across Somalia and the region. The scale of the challenge is immense, although it is clear to me from our discussions that the Puntland Government and the humanitarian community are doing their utmost to respond. UN Agencies are already responding through urgent programmes of cash transfer, nutrition assistance, water and sanitation support and health services. The situation is dire however and we all know that more needs to be done. To this end the United Nations continues to advocate with the donor community for the mobilization of more resources to meet this challenge across the country and here in Puntland.
Once again, I thank the President and the people of Puntland for the warm welcome today.