International partners of Somalia have expressed grave concern over the ongoing violence and conflict in Las Anod, which has now entered its tenth week.
The partners, consisting of 15 countries including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the European Union, held a joint call with the President of Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi, to discuss the issue on 15 April 2023.
In a statement released on Monday, the partners expressed the hope that the security and well-being of the population would be put at the centre of all political decisions and stressed that there must be an immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities and separation of forces to agreed locations.
“We reiterated the importance of ensuring humanitarian access and delivery of assistance to those in need. Similar messages have been passed to other parties of the conflict from the Partners.”
“The main parties to the conflict have repeatedly and publicly committed to a ceasefire and dialogue, but they have not yet implemented these commitments. Partners called for flexibility and a willingness to compromise to allow space for dialogue. We offered our support to identifying paths towards sustainable peace, including assisting in facilitating such dialogue.”
Partners welcomed the efforts and initiatives by local and regional actors to secure a ceasefire and facilitate a dialogue.
In addition, partners also stressed the importance of urgent progress on elections in Somaliland.
“We invited H.E. the President to publish a roadmap for elections and clarify the sequencing and timing of elections to allow for technical preparations. Tangible steps are needed to ensure elections can take place as soon as possible,” the statement said.
The statement said that Somalia’s international partners appreciated President’s repeated assurances that he is willing to pursue peace and dialogue.
“We also noted H.E. the President’s assurances to allow for unhindered humanitarian access to Las Anod. We hope that these commitments will be put into practice. Partners were disappointed that H.E. the President did not commit to withdrawing Somaliland forces centred around Las Anod.”