Tukaraq conflict among topics UN Envoy discussed in visit to Puntland and Somaliland

The United Nations envoy to Somalia today wrapped up a two-day visit which took him to Puntland and Somaliland, where he met their leaders and discussed a range of issues – including the need for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Tukaraq area of the contested Sool region which lies between them.

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Haysom, spent Sunday in Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa, where he met its President Muse Bihi Abdi.

“I had the opportunity to discuss with the president the recent changes in the region, the challenges facing Somaliland and of course, in that regard, we touched on the conflict in Tukaraq,” he said. “In particular, how that conflict can be managed to avoid any conflagration, any irruption of hostilities in the short term, and a long-term solution for that conflict.”

“Here in Somaliland we got a sense of the impact of the changes in the region and what that meant for the challenges facing Somaliland,” Mr. Haysom added. “And, of course, [we got] to discuss the Somaliland-Somalia relations.”

The UN official also met with a group of Somaliland civil society representatives and parliamentarians, who provided him with an overview of challenges and achievements in recent years regarding political, electoral and security issues.

 On Saturday, Mr. Haysom had been in Garowe, the capital of neighbouring Puntland, where he met with its President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali ‘Gaas.’

As with Somaliland’s leader, the need for maintaining peace in Tukaraq, where forces from Puntland and Somaliland have clashed in recent months, was a topic of discussion.

They also discussed how to improve relations between the Federal Government of Somalia and the country’s Federal Member States, in light of recent political tensions.

“We looked at the ways in which both levels of government in Somalia can work together to achieve what Somalis want, which is peace and prosperity,” the UN official said, adding that the visit was an “important opportunity to underline that for Somalia to succeed everyone needs to work in the same direction.”

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