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UN Security Council urges Somalis to pursue lasting peace

16 July Reiterating their commitment to a lasting settlement of the conflict in Somalia, members of the United Nations Security Council today encouraged all concerned parties to "pursue sincerely" their efforts aimed at achieving sustainable peace and reconciliation.

In a statement to the press following closed-door consultations, the Council President for July, Ambassador Inocencio F. Arias of Spain, said Haille Menkarios, a director in the UN Department of Political Affairs, had briefed the 15-nation body on the situation in Somalia.

Mr. Menkarios introduced Secretary-General Kofi Annan's latest report on political and humanitarian conditions in Somalia since February. The report notes that some leaders have absented themselves from the ongoing Somalia National Reconciliation Conference at Mbagathi, Kenya, alleging insufficient representation.

Ambassador Arias said members of the Council reiterated their firm support for the ongoing Conference and "encouraged the parties to pursue sincerely their efforts aimed at achieving lasting peace and reconciliation, and expressed the hope that the Conference would come to a successful conclusion in the near future."

In addition, the Council called on all States and concerned parties to scrupulously comply with the arms embargo against Somalia and to cooperate fully with the UN Panel of Experts in discharging its mandate.

As for the humanitarian situation, the report of the Secretary-General says the Somali people continue to struggle with chronic food insecurity, poverty, disease, drought and severely limited educational and employment opportunities.

"Members of the Council expressed their concern on the humanitarian situation in Somalia, urged the Somali parties to assure and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and called on Member States to respond urgently and generously to the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for 2003," Ambassador Arias said.

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