Presidents Abdiweli Mohamed Ali “Gaas” of Puntland and Abdikarim Hussein Guled of Galmudug resumed their discussions on implementing a ceasefire in the disputed city of Gaalkacyo yesterday in the presence of Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke of the Federal Government of Somalia and representatives of the international community.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) in Somalia, Michael Keating, was accompanied by the Deputy Special Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson Lydia Wanyoto and Colonel Ahmed Jire of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development.
They met with traditional leaders, clan elders and youths from both sides of the conflict to listen to their concerns and proposals, including the root causes of the Gaalkacyo conflict, issues that sustain it, and pathways to a lasting peace.
A fragile calm has prevailed in Gaalkacyo and environs over the past week. An 18-member Joint Committee has been formed to oversee implementation of the ceasefire, and talks are now underway to agree on a reconciliation process.
Intense discussions led by PM Sharmarke continue between the two state presidents to agree the basis upon which armed forces on both sides will be pulled back, and on a mechanism to implement and verify the ceasefire.
“A ceasefire mechanism and withdrawal of fighting on both sides is essential for conflict resolution” said SRSG Keating. “No-one will gain from a resumption of fighting, and the local population on both sides will suffer further – citizens of the town, people in neighbouring areas, displaced people, children, the business community – everyone. The only beneficiaries of continued conflict are violent extremists. A ceasefire is needed to allow a process, both in Galkacyo led by local dignitaries, civil society and business people, as well as at the national level to resolve underlying issues.”