The President of the Republic of Somaliland, H.E. Muse Bihi Abdi today held a video conference meeting with ambassadors, deputy ambassadors and diplomats from several countries including France, Netherlands, Turkey, UK, US and the European Union. The focus of the meeting was to discuss the ongoing conflict in Las Anod, and the elections planned for this year.
Prior to the start, President Bihi briefed them about the various measures taken by the Somaliland government to bring back peace and stability in Las Anod:-
- The Somaliland government has sent a delegation of ministers to Las Anod to open dialogue with the traditional leaders. Unfortunately, the traditional leaders refused to engage with them to reach a peaceful settlement.
- The Somaliland government has allowed traditional leaders who have been absent for a long time to enter Las Anod and take part in bringing peace back to the city. However, they made the situation worse by entering the city with another government’s flag, weapons and troops.
- The Somaliland government approved the meeting called by the Las Anod traditional elders as part of the peace efforts, but it quickly turned into treasonous plots against Somaliland, further disrupting the peace in the city.
- The Somaliland government withdrew its forces from the town to minimize civilian casualties and avoid further collateral damage to the city.
- Despite daily provocations by insurgents and terrorists, the Somaliland government called for a unilateral ceasefire in an effort to stabilize the situation.
- The Somaliland government welcomed the efforts of other Somaliland elders who have traveled to the nearby town of Oog to mediate, but militants in Las Anod reject negotiation and prevent traditional elders from attending any gathering.
- The government has welcomed Ethiopia’s offer to mediate between the Somaliland government and Garaads in Las Anod which was later rejected by the Garaads.
Afterwards, the ambassadors, deputies and diplomats thanked President Bihi for meeting with them and proposed that Somaliland pull its forces out of Las Anod. President Bihi attached to their proposal that the Puntland administration withdraw its forces from Las Anod.
The President added that the driving force behind Puntland’s hostilities against Somaliland is to create a tribal border which will have devastating effects on the security and stability of the HOA wider region. In his remarks, President Bihi said, “If you refuse to preserve the peace and proceed with your war plans, then Somaliland’s people and military are ready to defend their country.”
Finally, President Bihi spoke about the upcoming elections and noted that it is a task entrusted to the national election commission.