19 May 2007 04:26

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BBC MONITORING INTERNATIONAL REPORTS: SOMALIA: PUNTLAND PRESIDENT SPEECH ON AUTONOMY ANNIVERSARY
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom ; 06-Aug-2000 12:00:00 am ; 1145 words

Text of report by Somali Puntland newspaper `Warsidaha Puntland' on 1st AugustText of speech by Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, president of Puntland, on second anniversary of the establishment of Puntland autonomous regional state, published by Warsidaha Puntland

Somalia: Puntland president speech on autonomy anniversary

Text of report by Somali Puntland newspaper `Warsidaha Puntland' on 1st August

Text of speech by Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad, president of Puntland, on second anniversary of the establishment of Puntland autonomous regional state, published by Warsidaha newspaper.

His Excellency the vice-president, ministers, traditional leaders, parliamentarians, ladies and gentlemen, today is the second anniversary of the establishment of Puntland Somali government. We are jointly reviewing the situation in our region, the work of the government and its blueprint for the coming years. I do not want to praise my government, which has been in office only for two years. The challenges we have encountered so far cannot be described as easy.

We can all remember that after waiting for general reconciliation and establishment of a national Somali government for seven years, and making concessions to this end, representatives of Nugaal, Sool, Sanaag, Bari and Mudug regions met in Garoowe and set up Puntland regional government. We made it clear that we were integral part of Somalia and had not seceded. We concentrated our efforts in maintaining peace, national reconciliation and cooperation with our regional neighbours. We tried that all factions adopt a common ground to end the civil war and political differences. On several occasions we organized peace meetings in Garoowe for various leaders from most parts of Somalia. Despite our scarce economic resources and limited skilled manpower, we have been able to do the following: set up vital permanent national organs such as the executive, legislative and judiciary, set up a security forces which have the capacity to protect our territorial borders against aggression, sea piracy and maintain law and order.

With assistance from the international community the government has been able to rehabilitate government buildings and vital economic infrastructure such as the major tarmac road, Boosaaso port and airport, pay salaries to over 6,000 workers, which also benefit 60,000 of their dependants. The progress we have made might appear insignificant, but in reality it is a major achievement, considering our standing two years ago when we had insecurity and anarchy. We have been able to achieve this through cooperation without much assistance from the international community which has been reluctant to give substantial aid to Somalia.

Central and southern regions continue to experience sporadic fighting, and most of them are hit by drought and famine, calamities caused by armed hostilities, insecurity and lack of international emergency assistance. The situation has been further exasperated by the ongoing Somali reconciliation conference in Djibouti. The conference has thrown the country into renewed confusion, instability and division. Fortunately, some parts of Somalia, Puntland and north-western regions [Somaliland], enjoy peace, stability and good governance. Conflicts in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, DRCongo and Afghanistan have overshadowed the Somali civil war. As a result, there has been a stiff competition to draw the attention of the international community to these conflicts in order to get its dwindled assistance. The international community seems to have washed its hands off Somalia and instead turned into spectators ready to clap hands for murderers. The Somali situation has been adversely affected the poorly-performing international economy, the new world order, donor apathy, political and strategic rivalries among several countries.

The Djibouti conference brings the number of peace conferences held in the past decade to over ten. The past conference had one thing in common - they all failed. The Djibouti one seems set to create even worse problems. Despite the complicated political situation in Somalia, the Puntland government embarked on the task of maintaining peace and stability, encouraging the many warring factions to reconcile, respecting good neighbourliness and establishing cooperation among all regions. We appealed for massive international community aid to all Somali regions so as to facilitate efforts towards the restoration of peace and development.

The Djibouti conference, which caused no panic among us, has been organized undemocratically and it favours certain individuals. We have warned the international community on the danger the outcome of the conference can bring. Initially nobody believed us but now people are beginning to see clearly the danger posed by the conference.

In the past two years we directed our efforts towards laying firm foundations for the government and reform key institutions. In the coming year the government will strength these institutions, organize a conference, formulate plans for economic and social development, defend our people and interests. All these tasks will be undertaken with the help of our people. You all know our present economic situation, but we must move forward by pooling our resources and muscles.

The government has put in place political programmes for the next year. In order to convene a constitutional conference in 2001 as stipulated by the Puntland charter, the following tasks will be undertaken: prepare a draft constitution in line with the aspirations of our people, conduct a population census, appoint an electoral commission to organize general elections and appoint a committee to organize a conference in 2001.

Puntland supports the concept that first there must be regional administrations in Somalia as a basis for reconciliation in the Somalia. After regional administrations have been set up, their leaders will meet and discuss the establishment of a central government based on justice and democracy. My government will continue to encourage the existence of autonomous regions and hold talks with neighbouring regions as well as establishing cooperation with them. The government will continue to urge the international community to assist Somalia and play a mediatory role without leaning towards any groups and assist with efforts to rebuild the shatered country.

The government will formulate plans for social and economic development, creation of jobs, improving social amenities and economic infrastructure and housing. Particular attention will be paid to the needs of women, youths, jobless people and the elderly. The economic programme will give priority to the development of rural areas, where most of our population live and most of our economic activities take place. The development of the private sector will be encouraged, with the government helping it export its products as well as securing foreign markets. The government will strengthen key institutions, conduct training in commerce, animal husbandry, fishery and agriculture.

The environment is one other area that the government is keen on to protect. Our territorial waters will be guarded against the dumping of industrial waste, cutting down of trees for charcoal will be banned and towns will be developed according to planning. We will review our appeal for international assistance towards national reconstruction. The government political activities will be directed towards efforts to restore peace in Gaalkacyo and Mudug Region so that residents are able live in harmony and trust one another once against.

Puntland political stand on Jubbaland and Kismaayo [southern Somalia] is that the region should be returned to its rightful owners and this should be done through dialogue. Efforts will be made to protect Puntland from warmongers and other enemies, such as a government being planned to be set up in Djibouti. The government will closely monitor social vices, illegal exports of female livestock, incense-producing trees and rare animal species. The government will use the existing laws and, if necessary, enact new ones, to protect national heritage. Security forces will directed to ensure that such illegal exports are not carried out through any sea outlets or any other parts of Puntland.

I call upon you to participate in the reconstruction of Puntland and play a role in national reconciliation.

Thank you.

Source: `Warsidaha Puntland', Boosaaso, in Somali 6 Aug 00 p 2,3,4


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