An international meeting on Somalia, chaired by the United Nations, today called on the world community to offer practical and, where possible, direct support to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) as it battles extremists in a country that has had no central government for almost two decades.
Meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, under the chairmanship of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the 33-member International Contact Group on Somalia (ICG) noted the TFG’s call for the global community to establish a greater presence in Mogadishu, the war-torn capital, as soon as possible, and welcomed the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) decision to open an office there.
“The ICG condemns the continuing violence perpetrated against Somali civilians by extremists,” the group said in a communiqué, citing in particular the suicide bomb attack on a graduation ceremony for medical students which killed at least 15 people in Mogadishu earlier this month.
It also deplored the continuing piracy off the Somali coast and its “devastating effect on the lives of those in Somalia and the region as well as international trade” and welcomed the international naval presence while recognizing that the causes of piracy are on land and must be addressed urgently.
The ICG reiterated its support for the 2008 Djibouti process, a peace accord between the TFG and one of the rebel groups, the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), which was meant to pave the way for the cessation of all armed conflict across the faction-plagued country.
“It calls on all groups and factions to join the Djibouti process and work with the Transitional Federal Government which is the legitimate and internationally recognised Government of Somalia,” the communiqué said.
“The ICG welcomes the TFG’s commitment to continue its outreach efforts to all groups willing to cooperate and ready to renounce violence and encourages the TFG to continue and expand its efforts.”