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UNDP Seeks Security Firms in Somaliland, Kay Won't Say If UNSOM Leaves

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 15 -- While one part of the UN, Mogadishu-based Nicholas Kay as new head of the UNSOM, purports to be wooing Somaliland to accept his mission there, another part of the UN is soliciting bids for "professional security firms" to operate in Hareisa and Burao in Somaliland.

  Seeking such services, with bids still open until June 20, is the UN Development Program.

  This is the same UNDP involved in handing over Somaliland's air space to Somalia, leading to the suspension of some UN flights in and out of the country, as Inner City Press reported.

  Inner City Press has asked the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and WFP Logistics, What's the status of UN flights into Somaliland?

  Now on the "UN Global Marketplace" UNDP is inviting, until June 20, qualified professional security firms to submit their interest for security guarding services at the United Nations Common Compounds (UNCC) in Hargeisa and UN Facility in Burao." UNDP specifies:

"The UNCC comprises of five blocks and open spaces covering a total of 13,849 sqm and serves as the sub-office for UNDP and other UN agencies. There are approximately 70 staff members in the compound at any one time. Security is also extended to the nearby UN dispensary in Hargeisa and the Joint UN facility in Burao. The Burao facility has 3 self-contained rooms two conference rooms and is enclosed in a perimeter wall.

The proposer will be responsible for enforcing UN rules and regulations governing the access to UN compounds and facilities under UNDPs control. The proposer should have knowledge of safety and security issues including experiences in operation of fire fighting equipment, assessment of potential threats and crime prevention, operating communication equipment, access control, guarding compounds, patrolling, handling incoming suspicious parcels and dealing with crowds."

  To understand these seemingly different approaches from two parts of the UN -- which talk a lot under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about being "One UN" -- Inner City Press has asked Nick Kay himself, through the Digital Diplomacy social media on which Kay responds for example to UK-based Somalis who claim that even asking about Somaliland makes one a lobbyist for separatism.

How much of the UK's interest in Somalia is as a matter of domestic politics?

  Inner City Press asked Kay, did Somaliland's foreign minister tell you UNSOM "should close"? What are the next steps? (One might add, how does this impact the procurement above, including staffing levels?)

  The larger point is, there are long-standing and legitimate claims in Somaliland, but the UN or at least parts of it simply ignore them. Is it a matter of bureaucracy? Of the "love of states"? Is it a double standard when compared to the UN's solicitude to other group's claims? These are questions the UN, in the first instance Nicholas Kay, should answer. Watch this site.

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