Secretary-General, Kofi Annan today said the United Nations would increase humanitarian and development assistance to Somalia if its parties and leaders guaranteed access to those in need and the safety to humanitarian workers in the country.
“The United Nations will do all it can to help the people of Somalia heal the wounds of conflict, including through the development of a post-conflict peace-building mission when security conditions permit,” the Secretary-General said in a statement read on his behalf at the Somali National Reconciliation Conference which opened today in Eldoret, Kenya.
The conference is organized by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional body composed of Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, in an effort to reconcile various Somali factions and representatives of civil society and forge a stable peace for the country. The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator’s Office for Somalia said yesterday that hundreds of thousands of Somalis are “in desperate need of food, water, shelter and basic security.”
While congratulating IGAD for its regional approach to the Somali issue, the Secretary General, said however, that no amount of external goodwill, support and assistance could bring peace to Somalia. “Only Somalia’s leaders can decide to end the suffering of their people and only they can decide to negotiate an end to the conflict,” Mr. Annan said.
Calling on Somali parties and leaders to cooperate with IGAD in ending a decade of conflict in the country and immense suffering to their people, Mr. Annan said the leaders must rise above their differences and put the interests of Somalis first and foremost.