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International support for Somalia more crucial than ever before – UN envoy

International support for Somalia more crucial than ever before – UN envoy

Hundreds of families have been displaced following clashes between two clans over ownership of farmland in Somaliland
The top United Nations envoy for Somalia today called on the Security Council to take “concrete” steps to help bring stability to the strife-torn nation, stressing that the support of the international community is more important now than ever.

“I believe that today we are at a turning point,” Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, said as he briefed the Security Council.

“It is clear that the population and its traditional leaders reject violence and those behind it. Therefore, the support of the international community is even more crucial at this time.”

Despite the signing of peace agreements, the formation of a new government and election of a new president, Somalia has seen a resurgence of violence in recent months.

Fighting between Government forces and the Al-Shabaab and Hisb-ul-Islam militant groups in Mogadishu since early May have forced over 200,000 people from their homes, many of them for the second time over the course of the past year.

“The Somali people have endured too much – they have seen their loved ones killed and maimed, been forced to flee their homes again and again and suffered endless abuses of their human rights,” said Mr. Ould-Abdallah.

He called on the 15-member Council to take action to help the Horn of Africa nation, noting that “past failures should not discourage us from taking future action to help stability.”

While the Government has made important strides, it still needs immediate political and financial support to improve the situation, he said, adding that the authorities in Puntland and Somaliland also need resources to ensure that stability endures.

The Special Representative also echoed the call made by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his recent report to boost the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). “The African Union troops have shown remarkable courage and dedication in solidarity with the Somali people. They deserve the backing of all Council members,” said Mr. Ould-Abdallah.

Mr. Ban had also urged the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to press ahead with encouraging opposition groups to work towards peace in Somalia. His envoy noted that due to their proximity, knowledge and interest in Somalia, IGAD member States should be recognized as having a leading role on Somali issues.

He added that the time has come for the UN to show it is serious about moving to Somalia. “Our temporary presence in Nairobi has lasted far too long. We can only work effectively for peace with the Somalis and address pressing humanitarian needs if we are close to the victims of famine, violence and different abuses.

“My office and other leading UN agencies, including humanitarian ones, along with concerned diplomats and NGOs [non-governmental organizations], should move to Mogadishu,” Mr. Ould-Abdallah stated, adding that the establishment of a “green zone,” similar to those elsewhere, will facilitate this process.

“In my opinion, an effort has to be made similar to those green zones we have seen in other places,” he later told reporters after the meeting. “I have reason to believe that the Security Council is more amenable today than earlier.

“If we would like to help the Somali people, if we would like to put an end to anarchy, we have to do something,” he stressed.