Security Council calls for peaceful resolution of Somalia's conflict
In a statement to the press following closed-door consultations, Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani of Singapore, which holds the rotating presidency of the 15-member body, said the members "emphasized the need for a peaceful solution in Somalia based on national reconciliation, and underlined the need for strong international support."
Looking to the wider geographical context, Council members "urged all regional actors to give their unequivocal commitment to the peace efforts for Somalia in good faith and to refrain from any negative actions, including those that may compromise the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Somalia," the President said.
Council members also encouraged members of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to move forward with the National Reconciliation Conference in Nairobi as soon as possible. In addition, they underlined the importance of expeditiously implementing Council resolution 1407, which requested a report on the establishment of a panel of experts to improve enforcement of the sanctions against the country.
On the safety of UN personnel, members of the Council "strongly condemned the kidnapping of a UNDP [UN Development Programme] official in Mogadishu and called for his immediate release."
[On 29 April, a UN spokesman had announced that Professor Mohamed Ali Aborkor, who was working for the UNDP, had been kidnapped by unknown abductors.]
Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today reported that the first organized refugee return convoy from camps in Ethiopia to northwest Somalia - known as Somaliland - took place on Thursday.
Many of the returnees had lived in exile for over a decade, having fled to Ethiopia during Somaliland's war of secession in 1988, according to UNHCR. Hundreds of thousands more fled following the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in Somalia and the ensuing outbreak of civil war in 1991.
The refugee agency also reported rising tensions in the northeastern Kenyan border town of Mandera, where some 3,500 Somali refugees have gathered. UNHCR has requested the deployment of more police officers to the site to ensure the safety of refugees.