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January 31, 11

NEWS / UN chief underlines need to support Somali Governments reconciliation efforts

31 January 2011 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today stressed the need to assist Somalia’s transitional Government in its effort to initiate reconciliation with other political and armed groups that renounce the use of violence in favour of the formation of local civil administrations.

Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) also needs help to intensify and conclude consultations on the drafting of a new constitution, Mr. Ban said in an address to the High-Level meeting on Somalia convened by the United Nations and the African Union (AU) in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on the sidelines of the pan-African body’s annual summit.

“The consultations should provide an inclusive platform for dialogue among Somalis, including those still outside the political process,” said the Secretary-General.

He said Somalia’s political agenda, as defined in the transition road map, requires a security strategy to enable the TFG to develop its own sustainable security forces, deliver basic social services and operate in an expanded and secure environment, including in Mogadishu, the capital.

While commending Uganda and Burundi for contributing troops to the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), Mr. Ban said it is necessary to “rapidly generate and deploy” the new troops recently authorized by the Security Council, and give the force the technical, logistical and financial support it needs to do its work.

On piracy, he noted that his Special Adviser on Legal Issues related to Piracy in Somalia, Jack Lang, has proposed a comprehensive approach to the challenge of maritime piracy off the country’s coast, which is based on three pillars – deterrence, rule of law and security, and development.

He also noted that the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) has initiated the deployment of a light presence in Mogadishu, Puntland and Somaliland. “This will enhance our engagement with Somali interlocutors as we assist them with implementation of the road map. We continue to work to create the appropriate conditions for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation,” Mr. Ban said.

He voiced concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa country, saying the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Drought is prevalent, and there are disturbing reports of human rights violations in areas held by insurgents. Security for humanitarian personnel and the availability of funds for relief work are inadequate, the Secretary-General added.

“These challenges require an integrated, comprehensive response that encompasses many partners and many parts of the UN system. We must all do our utmost to bring an end to the violence and instability that has engulfed Somalia for so long,” Mr Ban said.

At a separate meeting, the Secretary-General and the President of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, discussed the cooperation between the UN and the TFG, as well as the challenges that lie ahead, including the completion of the transition period.

Mr. Ahmed presented to the Secretary-General his Government’s vision for the management of the priority tasks for the remaining transition period.

They also discussed the need for the TFG to accelerate the outreach and reconciliation efforts, intensify the constitution-making efforts, and work on a security strategy that would allow a better and secured delivery of basic social services to the population. The precarious humanitarian situation in the country also came up during the discussions.

In a related development, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, will make a three-day visit to Kenya and Somalia beginning tomorrow to assess the drought conditions in the two countries.

Ms. Amos will meet senior Kenyan Government officials to express appreciation for the country’s support for humanitarian action in the region, including the hosting tens of thousands of refugees over the past two decades.

She will also consult with humanitarian and development partners from various UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, as well as representatives of the donor community on best strategies to promote early intervention and mitigation for recurring drought in the Horn of Africa.

She will then travel to Somalia to visit IDP settlements in the country and hold meetings with local authorities, UN officials and their NGO partners, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which Ms. Amos heads.

OCHA noted in an update issued today that drought, and not insecurity, is now the main reason for new displacement in Somalia. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nearly 20,000 people were reported to have been displaced due to drought during the last two months – many of them moving to urban areas in search of assistance. Another 10,900 were displaced due to insecurity in Mogadishu.




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