Statement by President of Puntland State of Somalia
H.E. Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole)
Somalia New Deal Conference
September 16, 2013
Madam Chair, His Excellency the Somali President, His Excellency the President of Djibouti, Your Excellencies Heads of Delegations, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,¬†
Our sincere appreciations go to the European Union for organizing this historic international conference for Somalia¬† on the New Deal Framework for Fragile States. I would like also to take this opportunity to thank the E.U. for their generous support to alleviate the plight of the Somali people and for hosting Somali refugees during this difficult time¬† of our history, and we will never forget your commendable support. Puntland welcomes the New Deal Framework,¬† has held wide consultations, and has submitted its Development Priorities to be incorporated as a component into the¬† New Deal Compact for Somalia.
Today, I stand before you humbled by the international attention on my nation of Somalia is receiving from the international community. I wish to take this opportunity to highlight a few important points.
Somalia has undergone through three distinct periods of history since independence in 1960. The first period of the democratically elected civilian government reigned for nine years. The second period was the 21-year military¬† dictatorship rule led by Maj. Gen. Mohamed Siyad Barre (1969-1990). In the third period since 1991, armed rebel¬† groups exploiting clan divisions violently overthrew the Barre government and Somalia entered the current period of¬† over 22 years characterized by civil war and community uprooting, war crimes and crimes against humanity, refugee¬† exodus, environmental degradation, unlawful exploitation of marine resources, national disintegration, chronic¬† factional fighting over power, famine and humanitarian crises, international military interventions, failed interim¬† governments, terrorism and piracy.
We are gathered here today to help Somalia emerge from this dark period of history. During 2 2011 and 2012, the Somali people ‚Äì and the international partners who support them ‚Äì worked together diligently to end the transitional¬† process in Somalia, producing an adopted Provisional Federal Constitution, the Lower House of Federal Parliament,¬† and the Federal Government. This marked a historic moment, as the Federal Government became the first permanent¬† government in Somalia since the state collapse of 1991. Moreover, the Provisional Federal Constitution became the¬† first constitution produced in a consultative process among the Somali people for the first time since the Somali Constitution was abolished by the military regime 44 years ago. This also marked a moment of hope and optimism that Somalia would begin to re-emerge from the path of self-destruction and national agony.
It is worth asking why did Somalia adopt federalism as a system of government? The answer is the governance project¬† for Somalia has experienced many disappointments, as a number of internationally backed interim governments and¬† transitional processes were ineffective or ended in failure. As a result, Somalia opted for federalism as it offers the¬† only viable option to reunite the fragmented regions and territories of Somalia. Indeed, federalism is itself a model for reconciliation and prevents abuse of power at the center by a military dictatorship or a small extremist cult, that federalism allows inclusivity, and permits power to be exercised close to the people.
Somalia‚Äôs federal system is currently under development. The Constitution needs to be adhered to and reviewed, but¬† the legal process must be followed according to constitutional provisions. The Upper House of Federal Parliament ‚Äì an institution that represents the Federated States ‚Äì must be established for the constitutional review process to¬† commence. Finalizing the Somali Federal Constitution also requires the complete formation of the remaining¬† Federated States, who shall collectively reach a negotiated agreement with the Federal Government on the constitutional distribution of power and resources, clearly defining matters of exclusive jurisdiction,¬† concurrent jurisdiction, and residual powers. The Federal Constitution in its final form must satisfactorily address¬† autonomy for the States, whilst ensuring a Federal Government that upholds the sovereignty, territorial integrity,¬† political independence and unity of Somalia. Until that final stage is achieved, the political decision-making of¬† Somalia sh all be shared between the Federal Institutions and the Federated States, for the benefit of the Somali people. In this respect, Somalia‚Äôs overseas national assets belong to the Somali nation and the nation‚Äôs rights must be fully respected in decision-making for the future of the country‚Äôs overseas national assets.
It is important to emphasize that the process ahead is long and arduous, and that we must benefit from the lessons of history and exploit all advantages towards building a new Somalia that is at peace with itself, at peace with its¬† neighbors, and whose national dignity is restored among the community of nations. Parallel with progress on political¬† settlement and stability, Somalia needs holistic socio-economic development based on benefiting from local resources¬† responsibly, to overcome poverty, unemployment, and to stop the metamorphing threats emerging from Somalia. This¬† will give Somalia the opportunity to grow economically together with the sub-region.
I regret to mention that, since September 2012, valuable time has been lost on accelerating the formation of the remaining Federated States, a critical requirement to finalizing the Federal Constitution, harmonizing it with State¬† Constitutions, and conducting a national referendum. Somalia cannot afford to lose more time and bear more¬† suffering, as the Somali people are eagerly expecting us to deliver on our promises to see a reconciled, reconstructed¬† Somalia and peaceful elections by 2016. The Somali people cannot afford another wasted momentum ‚Äì the country¬† must go forward and we must deliver.
Since its inception, Puntland State has played an instrumental and constructive role by establishing institutions for governance, law enforcement and basic state service delivery in its territory and we continue to prevent the threat of¬† terrorism and piracy in the region. Puntland has also contributed to the national peace process, by hosting national¬† constitutional conferences and also hosting the exodus of people fleeing south-central Somalia. Our example will¬† serve as a model for the Jubaland interim administration and future Federated States. Puntland continues to strive to¬† contribute towards rebuilding a new Somalia and Puntland requires internationalsupport for security and development¬† to encourage future Federated States and the stabilization of Somalia. To further advance our progress, Puntland has decided to implement Public Financial Management system, including processes, procedures, and other related items.
Somalia in its current situation needs the implementation of a Political Timeline Agreement of 18 months to accelerate formation of States, finalize the Federal Constitution, and fully implement federalism in the country. The time has come to unite behind a common purpose of pacifying and rebuilding Somalia and to implement agreed-upon¬† principles. Now is the time for apology and forgiveness for wrongdoings among Somali communities, national reconciliation, and adherence to the rule of law in a spirit of genuine cooperation. It is the time to build a national cohesion for political and socio-economic development, which requires political will and courage of Somali leaders.
My national vision is the rebirth of a new Somalia that enjoys full peace, is a respected member of the community of¬† nations, self-reliant, respects human rights and gender equality, that brings hope to its citizens and attracts the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees. I envisage Somalia moving towards regional economic integration and¬† attracting investment for economic growth.
As the President of Puntland, a veteran of Somali national peace processes since 1991, and one of the Roadmap¬† Signatories to end the transition in Somalia, I make myself available to work together with President Hassan Sheikh,¬† the Federal Government and other Somali entities to contributive positively to all efforts to reinstituting the¬† fragmented Somali nation-state. I would like also to pay tribute to other Roadmap Signatories who worked very hard¬† in ending the transition and producing a federal constitution.
Finally, I take this opportunity to remind the Conference participants that, while Puntland strongly encourages strict¬† checks and supervision to ensure legal transactions and prevent security risks, we appeal to Western countries and the¬† wider world not to disrupt the Somali money-transfer system, as millions of people in Somalia, in refugee camps and¬† students around the world rely on the Hawala system for their livelihood and future.
In conclusion, I repeat my appreciation to the European Union and the wider international community and I appeal to¬† you to stay close by the Somali people as we undertake these vital steps to secure peace and stability in our country.
Thank you all and God bless.