The Security Council and Secretary-General Kofi Annan today each voiced grave concern at the recent intensified fighting in Somalia between the strife-torn country’s Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC).
Media reports say that hundreds of people may have been killed this week during clashes between the two groups wresting for control of a State that has not had a functioning national government since 1991.
In a statement released by his spokesman, Mr. Annan warned that the latest outbreak of fighting “will have disastrous consequences for civilians, who are already suffering from the effects of years and instability and deprivation, compounded by the severe flooding that has recently affected parts of the country.”
The Secretary-General urged both the UIC, which controls the nominal capital, Mogadishu, and the TFIs, based in the provincial city of Baidoa, to cease hostilities immediately and resume peace talks in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
The third round of peace talks, to focus on security and power-sharing, were slated to begin in October but then postponed after both sides came with preconditions. They were then scheduled to resume this month.
Today’s statement added that Mr. Annan was particularly concerned about “continuous reports of the involvement of foreign forces in the current conflict,” and he called on all nations to respect Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In a presidential statement issued today, the Council also voiced its concern about the situation, and urged both the UIC and the TFIs to “refrain from any actions that could provoke or perpetuate violence and violations of human rights, contribute to unnecessary tension and mistrust, endanger the ceasefire and political process, or further damage the humanitarian situation.”
The 15-member body stressed that the Transitional Federal Charter offers “the only route to achieving peace and stability in Somalia,” an impoverished nation in the Horn of Africa region. The charter emphasizes the need for institutions to be broad-based and widely representative and for any political process to be inclusive.