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Somaliland responds to US statement regarding the situation in Laascaanood

Hargeisa April 04, 2023 (SD) – The Somaliland government has released a statement responding to yesterday’s pointed announcement by the US government regarding the situation in the city of Las Anod and the country’s delayed presidential elections.

“The Government of the Republic of Somaliland shares the concerns of the international community regarding the continued violence in Las Anod, which was prompted by the assassination of a Somaliland politician in December, subsequent incursions by external forces, and attacks on civilian areas, including the residence where several Somaliland Cabinet Ministers were addressing concerns of the community members,” Somaliland said.

According to the press release from the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they have expressed readiness to negotiate a ceasefire in the conflict-ridden Sool region, where fighting between Somaliland forces and those of the SSC (Sool, Sanaag, and Cayn) has been ongoing.

Adding “In a good faith effort and to contain the violence and restore stability, the Somaliland government pulled back its security forces from Las’anod, declared a unilateral ceasefire and encouraged all other parties to join. The government also supported a Peace Mission by Somaliland’s clan elders to initiate dialogue, and welcomed the initiative taken by neighboring governments to mediate an end to hostilities.”

The Somaliland government has called on the US to urge Puntland to withdraw its troops from Las Anod, in order to facilitate peaceful talks and avoid further escalation of the situation.

“Despite this difficult situation, the Somaliland government’s requests for U.S. support to convince Puntland authorities to stop the flow of fighters and arms from their territory into Las’anod, or to allow local elders to engage in talks, have yet to be answered. As a result, armed militias have operated with impunity in Las’anod, intimidating local leaders who desire to engage in political dialogue with the government and enabling a permissive environment for terrorists. Failure by the U.S. and others to engage constructively, objectively, and dispassionately risks emboldening these militias and prolonging the conflict.” the statement said.

Finally, the Somaliland Statement confirmed that Somaliland is committed to holding elections and that it is the electoral Commission’s responsibility to come up with an election road map.

“Regardless of these challenges, we are determined to implement democratic elections, a right that the government has protected and a process that serves as a model for the region. In accordance with our laws, the National Electoral Commission is mandated to organize elections in our country. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the National Electoral Commission to develop the roadmap for the elections.”

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