Puntland breaks with Somali government

Posted on 17/01/2011

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Puntland, an autonomous Somali region home to pirates who threaten shipping in the Indian Ocean, said Sunday it was breaking with Somalia’s transitional government until a legitimate federal authority is in place in Mogadishu.

The decision was made during a special cabinet meeting in the Puntland capital Garowe, said a government statement received by AFP in Nairobi.

It said the Mogadishu government “does not represent Puntland in international forums” and called on “the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) to reconsider its position and support for the TFG at the expense of other Somali stakeholders”.

And it criticised “the lack of participation, consultation and representation of the Puntland Government during the 2008-2009 Djibouti Peace Process which led to the formation of the current Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia.”

The statement also slammed “the marginalization of Puntland from the international community’s initiatives and funding intended for the reconstruction and development of Somalia as a whole.”

It said it “welcomes, supports and endorses the new U.S. Dual-Track Policy which is based on realities on the ground in Somalia” and called for a conference to speed up national reconciliation.

Unlike neighbouring Somaliland, Puntland, which was founded in 1998 by former transition president Abdullahi Yussuf Ahmed, did not secede from Somalia but has its own government bodies at Garowe.

The United States said in September it was seeking to develop closer ties with Somalia’s northern breakaway states as part of efforts to undercut Islamist extremists threatening Somalia’s fragile central government.

The new policy aims to help the governments of Puntland and Somaliland improve services for their people, by having more US diplomats and aid workers visit them.

Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab militants control most of Somalia and have been closing in on the Western-backed Transitional Federal Government’s Mogadishu quarters.

January 17, 2011

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