The top UN envoy in Somalia has called on Somalia’s two warring regional states to stick to a ceasefire agreement to help end fighting which has claimed 45 lives in the past six weeks.
Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) in Somalia, Michael Keating said personal commitment of Presidents Abdiweli Mohamed Ali “Gaas” of Puntland and Abdikarim Hussein Guled of Galmudug is encouraging, but must be accompanied by full realization of the agreements
“Violations of the agreement are unacceptable, and indeed those responsible will be held accountable,” Keating said in a statement issued in Mogadishu on Sunday.
The statement comes after Somali leaders led by Prime Minister Sharmarke and international partners attended crisis talks on a ceasefire in Galkayo on Saturday where they agreed a way forward to resolve the conflict.
During the meeting, the two regional presidents re-committed to a ceasefire in the disputed city under the leadership of Sharmarke,
Keating said the meeting was very significant, noting that the United Nations and international partners will support an agreement and practical arrangements to stop the fighting immediately, ensure sustained dialogue and help local communities as well as Puntland and Galmudug to resolve their differences, and further its swift implementation.
“Extremists and other rejectionists have an interest in undermining peace. This must not be allowed to happen,” said Keating who was accompanied by the United Nations, the European Union, African Union and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) officials.
Fighting in and around Galkayo has resulted in at least 45 deaths in the last six weeks with an estimated 90,000 people having been displaced by fighting.
The agreement signed on December 2, 2015 which included a ceasefire and measures to deescalate the conflict was not implemented.
The renewed commitment made in Abu Dhabi on Nov. 1 to a ceasefire, to support the return of displaced people and establish a committee to find a solution to the conflict has not been honored.
The statement said the reason for Saturday’s meeting was to reaffirm the regional leaders’ commitment to a ceasefire, discuss immediate arrangements as to how it can be implemented including the immediate establishment of a ceasefire monitoring committee, and agree on a process for resolving the issues that are propelling the conflict.
Participants agreed to meet soon in Kismayo to review progress on the ceasefire and make practical arrangements for moving forward on a lasting solution to the conflict.
All parties recognize the critical role that traditional elders, business leaders and civil society representatives must play in Galkayo, and the need to support their role to address problems and achieve peace.