Kenya’s Foreign Minister urges enhanced UN role in Somalia
The Foreign Minister of Kenya today cautioned that the crisis in Somalia threatens to be overshadowed by the Darfur conflict, and called for a stepped-up United Nations role in the volatile Horn of Africa country.
“The problem with Somalia may be less visible today, having been overshadowed by the conflict in Darfur, but the Somalia crisis is far from over,” said Raphael Tuju.
He paid tribute to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), especially the Ugandan troops, which were playing an important role “under very trying circumstances.”
He appealed for the deployment of the remaining troops to strengthen AMISOM, and for the UN to assume greater responsibility in the country as called for by the Security Council.
A “United Nations presence on the ground in Somalia would compliment regional and international efforts to promote peace, stability and reconciliation.”
National reconciliation in Somalia is “a process, not a single event,” he said. All parties should participate in the negotiations, he said, “because no matter how long it takes, the final resolution of the Somalia crisis will only happen when all Somalis agree to sit down and talk.”
At the same time, he appealed to the international community to “honour pledges to provide the necessary resources.”
There are an estimated 700,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Somalia, which has been torn by factional fighting and has had no functioning central government since Muhammad Siad Barre’s regime was toppled in 1991.