HARGEISA, 19 October 2009 (Somalilandpress) – Nairobi, Kenya, October 17, 2009 (SL Times) – Puntland administration recently announced that it allowed Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts in its territory. Under normal circumstances this should be considered good news, until one reads the news release by the Puntland regional administration in which it states that the reason it gave permission to the VOA was because US Ambassador to Kenya has agreed to attend a conference of the Puntland diaspora in the US.
In other words, according to the Puntland authorities, there was a quid pro quo in which the US ambassador was supposed to attend the conference of the Puntlanders in exchange for Puntland allowing voa broadcasts in its territory. If this is not blackmail, we don’t what is.
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Anyone who has closely followed the behavior of Puntland’s successive administrations, would not be surprised that the current Puntland administration has engaged in pure blackmail. But what is surprising is that neither the organizers of the diaspora conference nor the American ambassador have repudiated the Puntland administration’s statement.
Just to dispel any doubts, here is the relevant part of the press release by the Puntland government:
“His Excellency, the President of Puntland State, granted the VOA Somali Service to resume its news broadcasting operations in Puntland today as a good gesture to US Ambassador to Kenya HE Michael E. Renneberger’s participation at the Puntland Diaspora Forum Conference to be held in the US State of Minnesota, 10 – 12 October 2009.”
Source: Somaliland Times