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September 2, 10

NEWS / UN political chief encourages Somali Government to do more for its citizens

2 September 2010 – The United Nations political chief has voiced his solidarity with the people of Somalia during a one-day visit to the Horn of Africa nation, and encouraged its leaders to focus on governing the country.

“It is crucial to show the long suffering people of Somalia that the Government can deliver basic services,” B. Lynn Pascoe, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, stated while in the capital, Mogadishu, on Wednesday.

He said the international community is very interested in supporting the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), “but the Government itself needs to do more and learn to work as a cohesive team.”

Mr. Pascoe, who was accompanied by the UN special envoy for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, met President Sheikh Sharif and Somali Cabinet ministers at the presidential compound.

Prior to arriving in Mogadishu, the Under-Secretary-General travelled to Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia for discussions on peace and security issues in the Horn of Africa, including the situation in Somalia, which has been afflicted by ongoing violence and faces one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

Violence in Mogadishu alone has led to some 3,000 conflict-related casualties so far this year and uprooted around 200,000 people from the city, which has been the scene of ongoing clashes between Government troops and Islamist militant groups, including Al-Shabaab.

Just last week an attack on a hotel in Mogadishu killed at least 30 civilians, including members of Parliament, and drew widespread condemnation from the UN and others.

On a return visit today to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, Mr. Pascoe told reporters that the TFG was reaching out more to political opponents, and that greater international awareness of the needs on the ground was translating into more comprehensive assistance on security and other matters.

“Is this is a huge challenge? Yes, is it going to be very difficult. But what strikes me is how pieces are coming into place and the political will of the international community is strengthening... I am hopeful that things are beginning to move in the right direction.”

While in the Somali capital, Mr. Pascoe also praised the work of African Union forces deployed in the country since 2008 and commended the UN for providing them with logistic support.

At the same time, he called for more troops as well as financial and logistical support for the force, known as AMISOM, which lost four of its peacekeepers earlier this week in an attack against the presidential palace.




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