[dehai-news] un.org: Without global support, Somalia will fall to opposition - top UN political official

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sat Jul 11 2009 - 04:52:26 EDT

Without global support, Somalia will fall to opposition – top UN political


July 2009 – If the international community allows Somalia’s Transitional
Federal Government (TFG) – forged in a process of consensus – to fail, the
poverty-stricken Horn of Africa nation will be taken over by opposition
groups employing tactics of coercion and intimidation, the top United
Nations political official cautioned today.

Last year’s UN-facilitated Djibouti Agreement ended the conflict between the
TFG and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia, with President Sheikh
Sharif Sheikh Ahmed taking office in January and a new Government being
formed in February.

“The choice before us is a stark one: either we help the Somali people
overcome the current attempt to thwart efforts towards peace or we allow the
new unity Government based on consensus and the Djibouti Accords to fall to
a radical armed opposition,” B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for
Political Affairs, told an
<http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2009/sc9700.doc.htm> open meeting of the
Security Council.

The TFG is being challenged by insurgent forces, backed by foreign fighters,
but “strives to maintain cohesion despite the obvious difficulties faced by
any government of national unity,” he said.

It is reaching out, he noted, to opposition forces and working to broaden
its support among community, religious and civil society leaders, while
trying to project a moderate vision of Islam in line with Somali culture.

In contrast, the rebel Al Shabaab has been assassinating clan leaders and
Government officials, doling out harsh punishments for minor offenses, Mr.
Pascoe said.

He also called for nations to honour the pledges made in April at a donors’
conference in Brussels for both the Government and the African Union Mission
in Somalia (AMISOM), emphasizing that it is in the world’s interest to
ensure that the TFG does not collapse.

“To enable the Government to enhance its legitimacy and broaden its base, we
must invest in building the security institutions and improve its capacity
to deliver public services and employment, which would have a positive
impact on the hearts and minds of ordinary Somalis,” the official said.

National reconciliation is also a key element in consolidating peace in the
country, he stressed, adding that the country’s peace process is open to all
groups renouncing violence and willing to cooperate with the Government.

Also essential is bolstering AMISOM and providing it with the resources
necessary to support the TFG and the Somali people, Mr. Pascoe told the

Last month, a suicide car-bomb attack killed the national security minister,
Omar Hashi Aden, and a number of innocent civilians.

“As President Sharif recently stated, the TFG’s immediate physical survival
is very much dependent on a more robust AMISOM presence,” Mr. Pascoe said
today, calling on nations to back efforts to allow the force to reach its
full authorized strength of 8,000.

Also calling for greater support for AMISOM today was Susana Malcorra,
Under-Secretary-General for the Department for Field Support (DFS).

Coordination is essential given that most of the funds pledged to the
African Union (AU) and troop-contributing countries will be provided
bilaterally, she said.

“I urge all Member States and regional organizations, including the European
Union and the League of Arab States, to redouble efforts to expedite
disbursement of pledges and to work closely with the UN to ensure that the
combined support for AMISOM can be identified and prioritized,” she said.

Meanwhile, “on the ground, we are gathering momentum,” Ms. Malcorra said,
with the UN supplying rations to AMISOM and constructing hospitals, among
other steps.

At the end of today’s meeting, which heard from nearly two dozen speakers,
the Council underscored the need for the Djibouti Agreement to remain the
foundation for the resolution of the conflict in Somalia.

“The Security Council reaffirms its support for the Transitional Federal
Government as the legitimate authority in Somalia under the Transitional
Federal Charter,” according to a presidential statement read out by
Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda of Uganda, which holds the Council’s rotating
presidency this month.

Condemning recent attacks on the TFG and civilians, it reiterated its demand
that “violent opposition groups immediately end their offensive, put down
their arms, renounce violence and join reconciliation efforts.”

Mr. Rugunda said that the 15-member Council deplores the loss of life and
worsening humanitarian crisis.

Earlier this week, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (
<http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home> UNHCR) reported that over
200,000 people have now been forced to flee the Somali capital, Mogadishu,
since fighting broke out between the Government and opposition groups in
early May, in the biggest exodus from the troubled city since Ethiopian
forces intervened in the Horn of Africa nation in 2007.

Today, the Council commended AMISOM’s efforts in Somalia, and took note of
the communiqué recently issued at the AU summit in Sirte, Libya, which
called on the Council to impose sanctions against Eritrea and others
supporting armed groups undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia.

“The Security Council is deeply concerned in this regard and will consider
expeditiously what action to take against any party undermining the Djibouti
Peace Process,” Mr. Rugunda said.


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