of the Somali Transitional National Assembly (TNA), Mohamed
Abshire, has announced that the issues of Somaliland and Puntland
will be raised and "given due consideration" in the forthcoming
debate of the provisional parliament. Abshire told a press
conference held on Thursday there were two schools of thought
on how to deal with the northern breakaway regional authorities.
says that we must first set up the new Somali authority and
then contact Somaliland and Puntland," he said. But another
group in the TNA advocates involvement of the northern authorities
in the Arta process, by "consulting with Somaliland and Puntland
and asking them for advice on how to build a national government".
as the eldest member, leads the Somali assembly that was inaugurated
last Sunday, after more than three months of clan-based negotiations
he agreed with the second option, and warned against the "danger
of producing a fait accompli". "I am of the opinion that a
strong delegation of TNA members and clan elders should be
sent to the northwest to consult with the senate and government
of Mohamed Ibrahim Egal [in Somaliland]", declared Mohamed
- a one time a fellow-detainee of Egal's under the regime
of former president Mohamed Siad Barre - said he considered
the leader of the self-declared state of Somaliland "one of
the few historic statesmen of Somalia" still involved in politics.
"It is our duty to remind Egal that he was one of the Somali
leaders who came to southern Somalia" in a move to create
a united Somalia in the 1960s, Abshire said.
it was "our turn" to go and ask advice from the north on how
to create a new Somalia. The issue of Puntland was "less difficult"
because the region had declared autonomy, but remained in
the fold of a Somalia state, he pointed out.
himself is a veteran Puntland politician, and rival to administration
leader Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf. Abdullahi Yusuf has strongly
opposed the Djibouti-hosted peace process, declaring it would
lead to a new round of civil war. Mohamed Abshire also told
the press that the TNA had set up an 11-member task committee
in charge of finalising the international regulations of the
parliament that are to be adopted next Saturday.
the regulations are established, the TNA is expected to elect
a speaker, a president and a prime minister. Abshire warned
that the elections would be "a complex co-option process which
must take into account the clan-based balance" on which the
entire Arta process has been based. So far, more than 200
deputies out of a total of 145 have been fielded by the various
clans ( Darod, Dir, Hawyie and Digil-Mirifle); a minority
grouping; and a caucus of 100 women who are to elect the 25
female TNA representatives. The president of Djibouti Ismail
Omar Guelleh has been given 20 seats to distribute - as a
mediating tool - and has reportedly already fielded five nominees.