|Somalia: Puntland leader pledges to root out Al Shabaab threats
GAROWE, Somalia Jan.24, 2014 (Garowe Online)-The newly elected President of Somalia’s northeastern state of Puntland Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas declared that his government will act on terrorism during his inaugural speech on Friday, Garowe Online reports.
Addressing crowds that included Somalia’s federal state leaders, prominent politicians and foreign dignitaries who attended a well organized ceremony held at Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC) in the capital of Garowe, President Gaas highlighted the most pressing issues ahead for his administration.
“The rebuilding of security sector is a paramount nature. The threat of Al Shabaab and piracy present a risk beyond the Somali border, a menace [in] the neighboring countries and [for] international trade,” unveiled Puntland leader, adding that his administration is adamant on terrorists: “[Puntland Government] will carry forward a zero-tolerance policy on crimes whether they are jihadists on the ground and criminals”
Among the participants at the inaugural ceremony were Jubaland President Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madobe), Galmudug President Abdi Hassan Awale Qaybdiid, former Puntland leaders, Dr. Abdirahman Mohamed Farole and Gen. Adde Musse Hirsi, former Somalia Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Geedi, federal parliamentarians, delegation from the Somali regional state of Ethiopia and Djibouti, Diaspora community members and Puntland public.
“I would like to single out President Farole in particular for special case in the dignified way the transition was carried out, his outstanding leadership and the manner the election was staged,” the recently elected president began with his speech.
Speaking about the Puntland unity and wider issues at hand for Puntland today, President Gaas took a look back at Puntland establishment and said ‘we still have a long way to go’: “The communities that make up the state of Puntland today are divided over certain issues and the first call of action for my administration is to stage a unity conference within the first 100 days and revive the spirit of 1998”.
On Puntland natural resources and investment opportunities, Gaas told that the untapped resources in Puntland would be a crucial economic agenda that requires greater effort and inclusive cooperation.
“Encouraging equal investment from the outside world and Diaspora communities is key priority for my administration,” he said.
While putting the security ahead of his economic pledges, President Gaas said that his government will upgrade transport infrastructure such as roads, airports and ports, “The main element of creating the thriving economic environment is peace and tranquility and atmosphere conducive for investment”.
“We will deliver social services in the areas of health, education and development of women. Water, sanitation and health are priorities for this administration,” added Gaas. “My administration will champion the rights of women and support their environment and break barriers where they exist”.
The new Puntland President stressed the need for good ties between Puntland and Mogadishu-based federal government with caution, noting that Puntland has been working on progressive moves to alleviate the suffering of Somali people in the war ravaged southern part.
“Puntland has never rejected the idea of Somali unity and [has been] standing for that principal since 1998. Going forward we have to develop a framework and mutual respect between Puntland and the federal government” the President said.
President Gaas urged the central government to hold consultations on Somalia-related affairs with Puntland government as the region played a vital role in the road map process that produced the current federal government.
The northeastern state of Puntland and Somalia’s leading pioneer suspended cooperation with Somalia federal government in a dispute over Provisional Federal Constitution (PFC) and foreign aid on August 20 201