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Annan Expresses Concern Over Tension in Sool
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Annan Expresses Concern Over Tension in Sool

New York, January 21, 2004 (SL Times) Ė United Nations

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has expressed deep concern over rising
tension between the republic of Somaliland and Somaliís autonomous
region of Puntland over Las-Anood.

The situation deteriorated following last monthís invasion of Las
Anod, capital of the Somaliland Sool region by Puntlandís warlord
Abdillahi Yusuf and there have been reports of troop build-ups and
preparations for conflict.

A statement read by the Secretary-General's spokesman, Fred Eckhard,
said: "The Secretary-General is deeply concerned by the increased
tension between the administrations of 'Puntland' and 'Somaliland'
over Las Anod in Sool Region, which threatens the outbreak of
hostilities at a critical time in the Somali peace process."

The statement went to say that Annan was calling on the two sides "to
exercise utmost restraint and to refrain from the use of force", and
urging them to seek solutions through dialogue.

Sool and Sanaag fall geographically within the borders of
pre-independence British Somaliland.

Talks sponsored by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development
with a view to bringing peace to Somalia have been going on in Kenya
for over a year. However, the talks have been dogged by wrangles over
issues such as an interim charter, the number of participants in the
negotiations and the selection and number of future parliamentarians.

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