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UN envoy lauds peaceful end to crisis within Somali transitional government

30 October 2007 The United Nations envoy to Somalia today welcomed the peaceful conclusion of the crisis within the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and called on the country’s leaders to overcome the challenges facing the war-torn nation.

Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, particularly acknowledged the “conciliatory tone and spirit” of the statements issued by both President Abdullahi Yusuf and Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi during the official announcement of the latter’s resignation, according to a press release issued by the UN Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS).

Calling on the TFG to continue to seek peaceful solutions to its internal differences, he encouraged “all leaders within and outside the country to overcome the pressing challenges facing their country.” These include carrying out the key provisions of the Transitional Federal Charter and the conclusions of the National Reconciliation Congress, which was held in July and August in a bid to foster internal coherence in Somalia.

Mr. Ould-Abdallah also expressed deep concern over the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation as a result of the continued violence in Mogadishu and the subsequent displacement of the civilian population. He urged all parties to immediately cease violence, and to facilitate unhindered access for the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The security situation in Mogadishu, which the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called the worst in months, has caused some 36,000 more residents to flee their homes this weekend.

More people were preparing to flee Mogadishu this morning, even though the situation seemed to have calmed down after fighting between Ethiopian troops and insurgents engulfed the city, UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told reporters in Geneva.

“But as large numbers of people packed their belongings to leave Mogadishu, some families told UNHCR staff that they felt lost not knowing whether to stay in their homes, relocate to another part of the city, or leave the city altogether,” she added.

The bulk of the internally displaced are fleeing to the town of Afgooye, where some 100,000 people have found temporary shelter and continue to be assisted by UNHCR.

The fighting over the past weekend is the latest upswing in violence among the TFG and other parties in the Horn of Africa nation, which has had no functioning central government since Muhammad Siad Barre’s regime was toppled in 1991.

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro has warned that the protracted crisis and State failure in Somalia presents a challenge, not only to Somalis, but to the UN and the international community at large.

“The prolonged suffering of the population must push us to more effectively address the Somali crisis,” Ms. Migiro said in an address to the opening of the third annual UN Advocacy Week of the World Council of Churches, which is focusing on the Horn of Africa during its meetings this week in New York.

Ms. Migiro stressed that the Council’s focus on the sub-region is “fitting and timely,” given that the Horn of Africa is where two of the UN’s biggest security and humanitarian challenges are currently unfolding – Darfur and Somalia.

“In both places, conflicts continue to cause widespread suffering, abuse and displacement for millions of people – primarily women and children. And they have taken an unacceptable toll on people’s lives and livelihoods for far too long,” she stated, adding that the UN has been working to help the Somalis find a lasting political solution.



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