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Somaliland, Puntland leaders meet

Officials of the autonomous region of Puntland (northeast Somalia) and the self-declared state of Somaliland (northwest Somalia) have held mediation talks in a bid to reduce tensions between their leaders, which have resulted in recent outbreaks of fighting.

A report in the Puntland newspaper, 'Sahan', monitored by the BBC, said the mediation would depend on the outcome of the Djibouti peace conference. Both administrations have boycotted the Djibouti-hosted Somali National Reconciliation Conference, and forbidden people from their respective areas to attend.

"The tension between the two regions will end if the Djibouti reconciliation conference sets up a national government supported by the international community," it said.

Citing visa requirements the two regions have imposed on each other, it added, "the failure of the Djibouti conference will further strain relations between the two Somali regions and lead to stricter travelling regulations". Last week women from Galkaio and Mudug region, central Somalia, held meetings and demonstrations calling for peace.

They called on warring clans to halt clashes in the region, and said women should influence their sons and husbands to lay down their arms and support peace, the pro-Puntland regional government radio station said in a broadcast monitored by BBC.

The private paper 'Sahan' has continued to write articles in support of the Djibouti-hosted talks despite a hostile response from the administration. Analysts recalled that the editor-in-chief, Mohamed Abdulkadir Ahmed, was arrested and beaten on 11 July by administration officials.



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