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Somalia: Puntland President Meets Kuwait Emir, Defends Anti-Piracy Force

Friday, December 3, 2010

Laaska News.Dec.03,2010.

Garowe(Garowe Online,All Africa).The president of Somalia’s Puntland government has met with Kuwait’s emir, while defending the establishment of an anti-piracy force, which is currently undergoing military training in Puntland State of northern Somalia, Radio Garowe reports.

Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed Farole was interviewed Thursday by the BBC Somali Service from Kuwait City, where the president’s delegation has been over the past week.

The Puntland delegation includes: Interior Minister Gen. Abdullahi Jama Ilkajir; Petroleum Director Mr. Isse Dhollowaa; and Social Welfare Agency director, Mr. Abdishakur Mohamud Gurey.

President Farole expressed his gratitude to the “fantastic welcome” the Puntland government delegation received in Kuwait.

“We wish to thank the Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who welcomed us and pledged to provide tangible development assistance to Puntland,” President Farole told the BBC interviewer.

The president declined to mention pledge specifics, but he underlined that Puntland’s government advanced a list of priority projects, including completion of two airports in Puntland, “as stipulated in the Istanbul Declaration,” the president added.

In May, the government of Turkey and the United Nations jointly hosted a conference on Somalia, where the final declaration called upon the world community to assist the completion of airports in the Puntland cities of Garowe and Bossaso.

Furthermore, President Farole said the priority projects forwarded to the Kuwaiti government includes the construction of a factory in Las Qoray, a coastal town in Puntland’s Sanaag region.

“Puntland specifically has many needs that the rest of Somalia does not have, especially in infrastructure. We requested tangible development projects and we are confident of Kuwait’s commitment to assist Puntland,” President Farole said.

He indicated that the Puntland government’s visit to Kuwait was preceded by a trip in February when a Kuwaiti charity group visited Puntland. He also said the delegation met with business interests and humanitarian aid groups based in Kuwait.

Anti-piracy force.

Puntland’s leader said that the government of Puntland “will not seek approval” from anyone when it comes to security matters.

“For nearly two years, we have requested the international community to help us establish anti-piracy troops and to construct monitoring stations along Puntland’s coast to fight pirates…but we received no answer,” the president said.

He indicated that there are “questions” about Puntland’s agreement with Saracen International, a South Africa-based maritime security company that inked a deal to train anti-piracy troops in Puntland last month.

“What is important is that Puntland improves its security. Without sufficient security, there can be no investment because investment depends on security and stability,” Puntland’s leader said.

He noted that the anti-piracy troops, which are to number 1,050 soldiers when training completes, will still need equipment and telecommunications gear in order to commence the fight against Somali pirates who threaten the world’s shipping lanes.

President Farole said that only African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM) are allowed to bring weapons to Somalia under U.N. regulations, adding: “We will continue to seek equipment and other support for our anti-piracy troops when training completes.”

He indicated that the Puntland-Saracen agreement is “in the spirit of the Istanbul Declaration, which encourages public-private partnerships” for Somalia.

Photo:Daily Nation.

Marines from NATO’s Portuguese frigate Corte-Real arrest suspected pirates on their skiff in the Gulf of Aden.

Clan wars

President Farole said Somali clans have been fighting each other for years, but that the collapse of the central government and the abundance of weapons has worsened clan violence since 1991.

“We will never allow people to kill each other and the government [of Puntland] will intervene to stop clan violence,” President Farole declared.

He praised a new peace deal between two Puntland clans in Bari region, where Puntland’s commercial capital Bossaso is located.

President Farole appealed to all Somali clans to “work for peace,” while sending a specific message to Mudug region, where there is clan violence risk between Puntland clans and non-Puntland clans.

“The people [of Mudug] live together and their livestock graze together. We call upon Gal-mudug administration to control their side and we promise that no trouble will come from Puntland side,” President Farole concluded.

Puntland, located in northeast Somalia, declared itself a federal autonomy in 1998. President Farole has staunchly defended federalism as the “only viable option” to restore national order in Somalia.

Most regions of Somalia south of Puntland are controlled by Al Qaeda-linked insurgent groups, mainly Al Shabaab, which is considered a terrorist organization by many countries around the world.

In late October, Puntland declared victory over Al Shabaab insurgents in a three-month war in the Galgala hills area when upwards of 96 militants were killed and all insurgent outposts seized by Puntland government troops.

Copyright © 2010 Garowe Online. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

Laaska News.

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