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Amid escalating tensions, UN’s Somalia envoy urges calm in Baidoa

Special Representative Nicholas Kay.
AU/UN/IST/Tobin Jones
Special Representative Nicholas Kay.

Amid escalating tensions, UN’s Somalia envoy urges calm in Baidoa

The top United Nations envoy in Somalia today voiced his concern over escalating tensions in Baidoa surrounding a federal State-building conference, calling for calm and dialogue by all parties as they address legitimate concerns.

“It is important that all parties remain calm, committed to dialogue and support reconciliation efforts,” Nicholas Kay said in a news release issued by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

Mr. Kay, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNSOM, called on traditional leaders, politicians and all stakeholders to play a “constructive and reconciliatory” role amid the ongoing process to form a federal state in the region.

“Nobody should risk taking steps that spoil peace- and state-building processes,” he stated. “I recognise the need for all stakeholders to meet without delay in Baidoa to address the legitimate concerns and aspirations of all parties.”

UNSOM said it is working closely with local partners, the Federal Government, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and others to reinvigorate peaceful talks and reconciliation efforts.

The continuing process of forming regional administrations is “critical” to the development of a federal system in Somalia, although it remains a difficult proposition, according to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“Time is of essence,” he wrote in a report last month to the Security Council on the situation in the Horn of Africa nation.

“I call upon the Federal Government to redouble its efforts to continue to reach out to the regions and to conclude the constitutional review process as expeditiously as possible, including the formation of federal states,” he stated, adding that the UN stands ready to support Somalia in this endeavour.

Established in June 2013, UNSOM is mandated by the Security Council to offer expertise in areas ranging from the political process to disarmament to help create and galvanize an environment in which stabilization and peacebuilding can proceed.