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Somali Government needs more coordinated, effective support - UN envoy

14 January 2010 – The Government of Somalia has made significant progress, despite repeated armed assaults to overthrow it by externally funded extremists, and deserves greater commitment as well as material and financial assistance from the United Nations and international partners, a top envoy said today.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Somalia Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah told the Security Council today that the crisis in the strife-torn Horn of Africa nation that has been devastated by factional fighting and without a functioning central government since 1991 can no longer be ignored.

“To prevent the situation from deteriorating further, and spilling over into the region and further afield, we should join the dots. In Somalia the international community still has some good cards [including the current Government]. It should play them right,” Mr. Ould-Abdallah stated.

This, he said, will allow the international community to overcome two main challenges, beginning with the “absence of a concrete commitment and a determined international policy towards Somalia and its present leadership.

“Continued hesitation and the absence of effective action have encouraged the extremists and, at the same time, weakened the Government,” he noted.

Secondly, he said that despite a massive consensus of support for the Transitional Federal Government from the international community, that backing has yet to be translated into the necessary material assistance.

Somalia is considered the typical case of a “failed State,” the envoy later told reporters. “We believe that with the situation we have now, we have moved from a failed Stated to a fragile State – a State which needs to be nurtured, supported to be able to carry out its responsibility at home and abroad, including in the region.”

To help improve the situation in the country, Mr. Ould-Abdallah suggested to the Council that the international community depart from past practices of uncoordinated efforts and individual diplomatic initiatives, support a common policy objective, and fully support the Government.

“The Security Council should send a strong and clear signal to the extremists by strengthening the Government in a practical manner,” he emphasized.

He also cited the need to work more closely with sub-regional organizations, and specifically to boost support for the AU peacekeeping mission to Somalia (AMISOM).

The Council should also address vigorously the role of the spoilers, he said, calling for a clear and effective message, “backed by concrete action.”

He added that these recommendations will be more effectively implemented once the UN family working on Somalia operates in an integrated and harmonized manner, stating that the move by the UN and the international community – many members of which have been operating from neighbouring Kenya – to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, should be accelerated.

The envoy warned that failure to actively intervene to restore stability to Somalia is already threatening the effectiveness of the international community, while costing vast amounts of resources. “Failure to act now in a decisive manner can only dramatically increase that cost.”

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