With the Somalia peace process entering a critical phase, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan voiced concern today over rising tension between the administrations of “Puntland” and “Somaliland” over claims to the Sool region.
Calling on the two self-declared autonomous regions "to exercise utmost restraint and to refrain from the use of force," Mr. Annan, in a statement read by his spokesman, urged them to seek a solution through political dialogue and reminded them to protect their civilian populations.
Tensions between "Puntland" (Northeast Somalia) and "Somaliland" (Northwest Somalia), have been growing in recent weeks, with both claiming the same territory.
The Secretary-General called on "all Somali parties to reach agreement on national reconciliation that would put an end to all the fighting and bloodshed in the country."
Somali officials have been involved in peace talks in Kenya for over a year.
Conflict and the collapse of many institutions over the last decade have compounded the shortage of basic services all over Somalia, the World Bank and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) say in a new report based on a nationwide household survey.
The new Socio-Economic Survey of Somalia - the first such report in over two decades - shows the difficulties people face without a central government, the joint report says.
The survey estimates that 43 per cent of Somalis live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than a dollar a day, and finds that nearly half the workforce is unemployed.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said late last month that it had delivered 732 tons of mixed food commodities to 39 drought-stricken villages in "Somaliland" - 15 of them through the "Puntland" port of Bossaso. It was enough food to last the people about a month, it said.