Annan calls on Somali leaders to meet July reconciliation deadline

18 June 2004

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on Somali leaders to show the political will needed to agree on procedures leading to reconciliation and the establishment of a transitional federal government by the end of July, a deadline set by East Africa’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

The active engagement of the UN Security Council and the putting in place of the Arms Embargo Monitoring Group could provide much-needed support for peace and national reconciliation, he says in a new report on the Horn of Africa country.

“The two-month time frame, given by the IGAD Ministers to conclude the Conference, places extraordinary pressure on the Somali parties and the region,” Mr. Annan says.

“Somali leaders have until the end of July to reach agreement on several contentious issues and form an inclusive transitional federal government for Somalia. It is incumbent upon them to demonstrate the necessary political will and make difficult decisions,” he says.

Those Somali politicians, businessmen and faction leaders who have established armed control over their fiefdoms “continue to demonstrate a lack of vision and political will to positively dialogue for peace” and to enhance national reconciliation and development, he says.

This could make the task of helping to implement any agreement in Somalia particularly challenging, Mr. Annan says.

The Somali region known as “Puntland” hosts some 70,000 internally displaced persons, the largest concentration of which is about 25,000 based in Bosasso, where the capacity to provide for them is limited, he says. Meanwhile, a significant increase in threats to and attacks on international and national aid workers has caused serious concern within the international community.

Despite the absence of governance structures and other difficulties, however, Somalis have created an informal banking system, initiated university programmes, established education facilities and built a modern communications system, he notes.

In the context of those achievements, he urges the international community to make up the $91.2 million shortfall in the 2004 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Somalia of $119 million, “so as to allow the effective implementation of a full, coherent and balanced humanitarian and peace-building programme.”