- It seems that in recent months some of those fighting Somalia’s government are coming to understand the impact of the violence on the people of the struggling Horn of Africa nation, a senior United Nations official said today.
“There is a need for Somalis to talk to each other inside the country to solve the ongoing problems,” Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, wrote in a letter to the diaspora.
“Somalis speak the same language, share the same culture and religion, they are more than able to reconcile between themselves going beyond all personal suspicion,” he added.
A recent African Union (AU) summit in Tripoli, Libya, ended with a strong call for African nations to support the Somali government, Mr Ould-Abdallah said.
“Those in the African Union, and particularly in the regional grouping IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development, bringing together seven East African countries], are in the best position to support Somalia given their close ties to the country,” he noted.
Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate last week that there is an urgent need for support for his government and stressed the importance of reconciliation.
Mr Ahmed was elected earlier this year as leader of Somalia, where violence has continued despite the signing in June 2008 of the UN-facilitated Djibouti Agreement by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS), in which they agreed to end their conflict.
In his address to the Assembly, he also pointed the finger at foreign extremists for much of the fighting and humanitarian suffering that continues to engulf Somalia, where anarchy has prevailed for nearly 20 years.
The renewed surge in fighting this year - which has driven more than 250,000 people from their homes since May - is part of a new type of rebellion under way in his country, the President said.
Mr Ahmed said this rebellion was being conducted mainly by foreign extremists and went against Islam, but was able to continue in part because Somalia has not had a functioning nation-wide government since 1991.
“At this difficult moment in history, we need assistance and support,” he said, urging the international community to back the efforts of the TFG to defeat the rebels, restore law and order and distribute humanitarian aid to the millions of people in need across the country.
In his letter to the diaspora, Mr Ould-Abdallah also mentioned the 17 September suicide attack against the headquarters of the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which claimed the lives of 22 people and wounded many others, and was roundly condemned by the UN, AU and other organisations and countries.
The governments of nations contributing troops to AMISOM “have made it clear that they will remain in Mogadishu and are determined to protect themselves,” he said.
“Regrettably those leaders who made public statements supporting the attack have made their international case even more difficult to defend.”
The envoy voiced hope that progress towards attaining a durable peace will continued to be made, “and that after 20 years, the guns will finally fall silent.”
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