A two-day consultative meeting organized and conducted by officials of Puntland Ministry of Interior, Federal Affairs and Democratization at Rugsan Hall has ended successfully today in Garowe. The meeting was well attended by the members of Puntland Technical Committee for Federal Negotiations, TCFN, Director-Generals of Puntland various ministries, Head of UNDP Area Office as a guest speaker, PUNSAA, individual organizations representing Puntland civil societies, university representatives and other prominent personalities in town.
In the course of the two-day event, major presentations on governance, Somali Federalism, constitution-making, strained working relationships between Puntland and Federal governments, in particular, and between Federal Member States and Federal Government, in general, were conducted. Debates on issues that followed presentations were lively and substantive.
Of particular interest were the critical roles played by members of the TCFN in articulating subject matter issues in the expansive agenda of the meeting, covering all aspects of the federal power-sharing, fiscal federalism, with special emphasis on areas of conflict and tension in federal institutional structures.
Some prominent participants of the meeting, while acknowledging these difficult relations with the current administration of FGS, and noting the historical nature of these working relations between successive Puntland governments and FGS, have recommended and called for talks on establishing clear New Working Protocols between FGS and FMS as the only way to untangle the current political stalemate. Others argued that the disputes are based on constitutional grounds which FGS kept ignoring or violating them, and until FGS returns to work within the framework of the Provisional Federal Constitution, there is little flexibility or interest from Puntland Government to talk about talks with the Central Government. Many, however, acknowledged that the current gridlocks will sooner or later end up in negotiations. Puntland administration should be prepared to set out its conditions and priorities now.