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Somalia: Arta process key for peace in country, Security Council says

Somalia: Arta process key for peace in country, Security Council says

Reaffirming its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia, the Security Council today said that the so-called Arta peace process remained the most viable basis for peace and national reconciliation.

In a statement read out in a formal meeting by Brian Cowen, the Foreign Minister of Ireland, which holds this months presidency of the 15-member body, the Council called on States and other actors to comply scrupulously with the arms embargo established by resolution 733 of 1992. It insisted that all States should refrain from interfering in Somalia's internal affairs because such interference could jeopardize the country's sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity.

The Council urged the Transitional National Government, political and traditional leaders, and factions, to help complete the peace and reconciliation process through the involvement of all parties in a spirit of mutual accommodation and tolerance. It emphasized the need to achieve local political settlements and called on all parties to refrain from actions that undermined the peace process, which took its name from the talks in Arta, some 30 kilometres south of the Djibouti capital.

Acknowledging Djibouti's major contribution to the Arta peace process and welcoming that country's continuing role, the Council called on the concerned States in the Horn of Africa to contribute to the efforts in Somalia, emphasizing that long-term regional stability could most effectively be addressed if neighbouring States played a positive role in rebuilding the country's national institutions.

The Security Council also strongly condemned the 13 October attack on a police station in Mogadishu, in which a number of officers and civilians were killed. It also reiterated its condemnation of the attack on 27 March 2001 on the compound of Médecins sans frontières in Mogadishu and the subsequent abduction of international personnel, and demanded that those responsible must be brought to justice.

On the humanitarian front, the Security Council expressed concern about the situation in Somalia, in particular in southern areas, and in the Bay, Bakool, Gedo and Hiran regions due to food insecurity and lack of rainfall. Noting that problems in livestock exports have also been a major influence in worsening the economic situation, the Council called on all States and on all authorities within Somalia to cooperate in efforts to allow the resumption of such exports.

The Council also requested Secretary-General Kofi Annan to help support the peace process, in part by dispatching of a mission to assess the security situation in the country. It also sought proposals for how the UN may further help demobilize militia members and train government police officers, and stressed the need for issuing an appeal for contributions to a peace-building trust fund for Somalia.