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Annan urges East African countries to help foster peace in Somalia

Annan urges East African countries to help foster peace in Somalia

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged the leaders of seven East African countries meeting in Khartoum to support the peace process in Somalia, pledging the UN’s help in this effort.

In a message to the summit meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Secretary-General said IGAD member countries and other States in the region “can and must” contribute to peace efforts in Somalia. “The United Nations will help Somalia achieve progress, including through the deployment of a post-conflict peace-building mission, should security conditions permit,” he pledged.

At the same time, Mr. Annan emphasized that “no amount of good will, support and assistance on the part of IGAD or the international community alone will bring about peace in Somalia.” Instead, he pointed out, it was up to the country’s leaders to end the suffering and negotiate a stop to the conflict. “They need to rise above their differences and put the interests of the people of Somalia first and foremost,” he said.

In addition, the Secretary-General called attention to other challenges facing East Africa, including drought and environmental degradation. “The region has also experienced the devastation and loss caused by international terrorism,” he observed.

“The United Nations,” he said,” through its peace and security mechanisms and the full panoply of its development and humanitarian agencies, will continue to be IGAD’s partner as you confront these challenges, and as you seek to seize the opportunities of globalization and bring an era of peace and development to all your countries’ peoples.”

The Secretary-General’s message was delivered by his Special Advisor, Mohamed Sahnoun. The IGAD member countries are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.