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UN envoy calls on Somali Parliament to resolve internal disputes

26 April 2010 – The top United Nations envoy to Somalia today appealed to members of the nation’s Parliament to put aside their infighting and to instead focus on meeting the population’s needs and bolstering security.

“I am following, with great unease, the unhelpful debate about parliamentary issues now taking place in Mogadishu,” Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, said in a press release.

Although, he said, he recognizes the need to address the question of parliamentarians’ salaries, “at the same time, I deplore the time and energy wasted on arguments which could be devoted to resolving more pressing issues at hand,” which also include implementing the March agreement struck between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Ahlu Sunna wal Jama, an opposition faction previously opposed to the transitional authority.

Mr. Ould-Abdallah voiced hope that Government and parliamentary leaders will be able to patch up their differences and tackle tasks affecting Somalis both within and outside the country.

He said that he plans to meet with Ambassador Claude Heller of Mexico, who chairs the UN sanctions committee for Somalia, when the body visits the region.

The committee, the Special Representative said, will bring up the issue of impunity, “which has long been a devastating factor in the Somali crisis,” during its meetings with representatives from the Governments of Somalia and Kenya.

He also took note of last week’s meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG), the United Nations-backed group supporting peace and reconciliation in Somalia, which welcomed efforts by the TFG to reach out to opposition groups willing to join the peace process.

In a communiqué at the end of the gathering held at the headquarters of the League of Arab States (LAS) in Cairo, the body that it was particularly encouraged by the 15 March an agreement between the Government and Ahlu Sunna wal Jama.

“The ICG recognises this agreement as a possible blueprint for future cooperation with other groups and calls for the TFG to intensify its outreach efforts to those committed to peace and stability,” the communiqué noted after the Group’s latest meeting, chaired by Mr. Ould-Abdallah.

With 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), some 570,000 refugees in the region and nearly 3 million people dependent on humanitarian aid, Somalia – which has been devastated by factional fighting and without a functioning central government since 1991 – remains the setting of one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

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