Addis Ababa.. The Federal government of Somalia on Wednesday signed a peace agreement with Jubaland in Addis Ababa.
The deal comes after week-long deliberations and includes the recognition of Jubaland’s administration by the Federal government.
The deal will also see the gradual integration of Jubaland’s militia into the Federal army while allowing Jubaland to have its own police force. Willing militias will be integrated into the Somali National Forces while the rest will be demobilised and reintegrated into civilian life as per the accord.
Additionally, the agreement covers the transparent management of revenues from Kismayu port and airport.
“It is a historic agreement,” said Dr Tewodros Adhanom, Foreign Minister of Ethiopia and chairman of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad), who mediated the negotiations.
“Today Somalia takes a major step towards normality. Indeed it is a great day for Somalia, the region, Africa and the world in general as Somalis deserve reconciliation, peace and development,” he said.
Face-to-face negotiations began in June though the follow-up meeting which resulted in the peace agreement began in August 20.
The delegation from Mogadishu was led by the State Minister for the Presidency, Farah Sheikh Abdulkadir, while the Jubaland representatives were headed by its leader Sheikh Ahmed Mohammed Madobe.
Under the agreement, Jubaland whose capital Kismayu is 500 km south of Mogadishu, will operate as a self-governing entity for an interim period of six months with the name Juba Administration to replace Jubaland State of Somalia.
Sheikh Madobe was endorsed as head the interim administration and will be assisted by three deputies along with governors for Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Gado.
“Today’s agreement is part of our policy to stabilise Somalia through reconciliation and dialogue,” said Mr Abdulkadir, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Federal government of Somalia.
“Searching for peace is not easy. We will cement this agreement in the upcoming peace-building conference in order to have a united sovereign Somalia,” he added.
“The agreement is a good model for the rest of the Somalis. The fundamental issue is to always look into the interest of Somali people. Now we want to focus on the fight against Al-Shabaab,” said Sheikh Madobe, who signed on behalf of the new Jubaland interim interim administration.
The agreement-signing ceremony was witnessed by representatives from the African Union, the United Nations, European Union and Igad member states.
“It is a breakthrough that unlocks the door for a better future for Somalia,” said Nicholas Kay, head of assistance mission to Somalia and UN special envoy. “The agreement must be implemented respected,” he said.
For months prior to this agreement, there had been a serious standoff between the Federal government and the Kenya Defence Forces based in Jubaland, which Mogadishu accused of backing Sheikh Madobe in a separatist scheme to delink Jubaland from Somalia.