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Puntland, Donor Agencies Disagree On Aid Distribution

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GAROWE, Somalia Jan 23, 2007 – A large conference opened Tuesday morning at the Puntland Research and Development Center (PDRC) in the regional capital Garowe, where government and aid agencies discussed development and reconstruction initiatives in the region.

The Puntland leadership, including Vice President Hassan Dahir Afqura, Cabinet ministers and regional legislators, sat across from representatives of donor organizations from the World Bank, the European Union and other agencies.

Sources at the meet told Garowe Online that VP Afqura and   other Puntland officials   disagreed with the continuation of donor funds allocated for Sool and Sanaag regions to be distributed via Hargeisa, capital of the self-declared Somaliland Republic.

Ahmed Ali Hashi, Speaker of the Puntland Parliament, requested that the aid agencies pay a visit to the disputed regions of Sool and Sanaag, and to ask the local population what administration they are part of.

Donor country representatives at the Garowe meeting informed the Puntland leadership that their job was not to interfere in local political affairs but to distribute aid according to regulations.

The ownership of Sool and Sanaag regions are disputed between Puntland and Somaliland for two different reasons. The two Somali sub-states have fought along the precarious, unofficial border region several times in the recent past.

While Hargeisa claims legal ownership of Sool and Sanaag according to colonial-era boundaries, Garowe has long maintained that blood ties between Sool and Sanaag inhabitants and the rest of the Puntland population supersedes arbitrary borders erected by the then-governing colonial powers.

VP Afqura is from Sool region, while parliament Speaker Hashi is a native of Sanaag.

The two parties agreed to meet again tomorrow (Wednesday) to continue the discussions.

Source: Garowe Online News


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