PUNTLAND STATE OF SOMALIA
Xafiiska Madaxweynaha Office of the President
January 15, 2004
Mr. Gary Quince,
Acting Chair, SACB Executive and
Head of European Commission Delegation for Kenya and Somalia,
Dear Mr. Quince,
RE: Northern Somalia Political Conflict
I refer to your letter of January 12, 2004 and the preceding SACB Press Release dated January 8, 2004, relating to the conflict in Northern Somalia. Thank you for the SACB/EC expression of deep concern on the current tension along the Border of Puntland State of Somalia and the Northwestern Regions of Somalia.
It is particularly distressing that this situation had to develop when there is crippling and prolonged drought in the areas concerned. It is also unfortunate that the stability so jealously guarded and the relative progress achieved with much sacrifice in these zones are now endangered. However, the SACB understanding and recognition of the “sensitivity and complexity of the issues involved” as well as their expressed concern are much appreciated.
The SACB and EC Delegation are, no doubt, aware of the frequent representations Puntland has been making to the successive Northwestern Administrations of Mr. Abdirahman Tuur, Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim Egal and Mr. Kahin since 1992, proposing to them effective dialogue on regional cooperation, including security, trade, cross-border humanitarian activities and peaceful resolution to political differences between the two Administrations. On numerous occasions during the same period, we requested the international community to use their good offices to support such dialogue. Regrettably, the only responses from the Northwest Administrations were insults and provocations, which we chose to ignore. The international community also ignored our pleas and instead seemed to encourage the Northern Secessionists in their wayward behaviour.
The Puntland Administration has always exercised tremendous restraint and will continue to do everything possible on its part to normalise the situation despite the continued provocation and threats, hoping the international community will prevail on the Northwestern Administration to do likewise.
Please be assured of my State Government’s commitment to peaceful, just and democratic resolution to the conflict on the Sool and Sanaag Regions. We would welcome international community mediation at anytime and at anywhere neutral. I must clearly state, however, that while Puntland will not be the one to start an offensive act, it will defend itself if attacked.
With the assurances of my highest consideration and cooperation,
Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed
AYA Memo Escalating Conflict in Somalia’s Northern Regions