His Excellency Musa Behi Abdi, President of the Republic of Somaliland, today, received Mr. Michael Keating, Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Somalia/Somaliland, and a delegation he led at his office at the Presidency, Hargeisa.
Somaliland Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Saad Ali Shire, and Mr. Keating, jointly, briefed the press at the end of the meeting.
“The President, Musa Behi Abdi, and the Special Representative, Michael Keating, discussed issues relating to mutual cooperation touching on the political layout, economy, democracy, security, humanitarian assistance and the like,” Dr. Saad Ali said.
The Foreign Minister hoped that today’s meeting would further consolidate the strong bilateral relations developed between the two sides over the years.
Mr. Keating stated that his delegation’s visit to Somaliland was primarily to listen to the priorities of the government that took the reins of Somaliland following the recent, November election of the president; and to congratulate the people of Somaliland, through the president, for the elections last year.
The SRSG said those issues were raised in the meeting between his delegation and President Behi.
Mr. Keating said his delegation listened to the government priorities which included ‘security, coping with drought, providing jobs -especially for young people, and to improve health and education and – of course – addressing some of the political issues faced by Somaliland’.
Mr. Keating said he told the President that the United Nations will support his government in overcoming the many challenges it faced as best as it could.
“I was impressed,” Mr. Keating added, “by the president’s commitment, borne of many decades of personal experience of the importance of finding peaceful solutions to problems.”
Asked what he thought of Somalia claiming takeover of Somalia/Somaliland airspace, Mr. Keating said, “airspace management is the interest of everybody, of the world, in fact. airspace cannot be an area of dispute because, then, it will shut down. There needs to be an immediate discussion between Somalia, Somaliland, ICAO to clarify the basis upon which airspace management will be undertaken over the skies here and to make sure that any misunderstanding be resolved.”
“There has to be respect for the agreements between Hargeisa and Mogadishu,” he added.
On the military development between Somalia’s Puntland state and the Republic of Somaliland, Mr. Keating said a military solution was not the answer.
Following provocative visits the Somalia Minister for Planning, Jamal Mohamed Hassan, made on eastern Sanaag, and a follow-up one the President of Federal Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, planned for Buuhoodle, Taleh, Dhahar and adjacent areas within the Somaliland international boundaries as part of his Puntland visit, the Somaliland army made a preemptive, tactical move forward recapturing a major, strategic town, Tukaraq of Sool region, from the occupying Puntland troops on Monday.