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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Wednesday 30 November 2005

SOMALIA: IGAD calls for the lifting of arms embargo

NAIROBI, 30 Nov 2005 (IRIN) - The subregional body that brokered Somalia's reconciliation process has called for the lifting of a UN arms embargo on that country to enable its transitional federal government (TFG) to establish security institutions.

The council of ministers of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which met in the Somalia town of Jowhar, the temporary seat of the TFG on Tuesday, said Somalia had a legitimate government which should be allowed the create law enforcement agencies.

"The Council of Ministers underlines the necessity in recognising that Somalia has a legitimate government and in line with the transitional federal charter has the solemn right to establish, train and equip its law enforcement authority while seeking regional and international cooperation towards achieving that goal of lifting the UN arms embargo," the ministers said in a joint communiqué.

The council urged the Somalis to complete their reconciliation process through dialogue. They also maintained that groups or factions that continued to defy and undermine efforts towards peace should be identified and isolated.

The ministers called upon the international community "to apply whatever punitive measures that are necessary to enforce the will of the Somali people."

The transitional federal institutions moved to Somalia in June from Kenya, where they were created, but the administration has been divided over where the seat of government should be situated and the deployment of peacekeepers from neighbouring countries.

The president, the prime minister and their supporters pitched camp in Jowhar, 90 km north of Mogadishu, citing insecurity as the reason behind their decision not to work from the capital.

Other MPs, led by speaker, Sharif Hassan Shaykh Aden, went to Mogadishu, saying they would attempt to restore stability to the city, which was largely destroyed during nearly 15 years of factional warfare following the toppling in 1991 of the Muhammad Siyad Barre regime.

The IGAD council also recommended the deployment of military observers and called "on all IGAD members to establish diplomatic representation with the TFG."

The TFG, according to the ministers, should "maintain and show a spirit of dialogue" in all its political conduct, with a view of reaching out to all members of the transitional federal institutions.


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