The top United Nations envoy for Somalia met today with key officials to discuss how to promote enduring peace and development in the war-ravaged country, which has not had a functioning government since the toppling of Muhammad Siad Barre’s regime in 1991.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Francois Lonsény Fall, represented the world body at the meeting of the International Contact Group – a set of countries and organizations including the UN – which took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on the southeastern African coast.
According to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesperson, the meeting’s participants, including representatives from the African Union (AU), the European Union and the League of Arab States, discussed the need for reconciliation through an inclusive dialogue between the Somali parties, the proposed deployment of an AU peace support mission and international development assistance to the country.
Late last year, the transitional Government, backed by Ethiopian troops, dislodged Islamist forces from much of Somalia. The Council then authorized the deployment of a peace support mission to Somalia, to be run by the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an east African grouping.
Due to years to warfare and recurring droughts, there are currently almost half a million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Somalia.