Good afternoon, Mr. President, Mr. Vice-President, members of the Cabinet, members of your advisory team.
It’s a pleasure to be back in Garowe.
I am here today with colleagues representing some of Somalia’s main international partners, and we thank President Said Abdullahi Deni and the people of Puntland for the hospitable reception we have received during our visit.
I am joined by the Acting Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Head of the African Union Transition Mission to Somalia, Fiona Lortan; the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Somalia, Kate Foster; Sweden’s Ambassador to Somalia, Per Lindgarde; the US Ambassador to Somalia, Larry Andre; the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Head of Mission in Somalia, Abdi Ibrahim; Norway’s Chargé d’affaires in Somalia, Haakon Svane; and the European Union Delegation to Somalia’s Team Leader, Jens Hoegel.
This morning we attended a roundtable meeting on direct elections, chaired by President Deni, with the participation of other stakeholders, including the Transitional Puntland Electoral Commission – TPEC.
During this meeting, we had an opportunity to exchange ideas and to have a fruitful discussion on Puntland’s plans to organise direct local elections in the first half of 2023.
Several of Somalia’s international partners have been providing substantial capacity-building and financial support to this effort. The United Nations has also been providing technical support to the TPEC.
We commend the government and people of Puntland for their continued commitment to deliver direct local elections, as enshrined in Puntland’s Constitution. We urge that the electoral process advance on the basis of broad consultation, as well as inclusion of women, youth, minorities, and persons with disabilities. We hope that Puntland’s efforts can also inspire the broader process of ‘one person, one vote’ elections across Somalia, at the federal and the member state levels.
The elections in Puntland will take place in the context of a drought crisis that is badly hurting the Somali people.
Somalia’s international partners will continue to advocate for the mobilisation of more resources to respond to the drought, even as the electoral process in Puntland moves forward.
Once again, we wish to thank President Deni, members of his cabinet and advisors, and the people of Puntland, for their warm welcome during our visit.
Thank you, Mr. President.