- The United Nations officials have called on the international community to support the fragile Somalia peace process, saying the African Union has a moral and political obligation to help the Horn of Africa state.
Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe said the response of the international community to an embattled government’s pleas for help could help consolidate hopeful steps toward a lasting peace agreement in the country.
Mr Pascoe said the situation remains fragile in the country following the attempted coup on 9 May by the radical Islamists group Al Shabab fighters, saying the latest surge in violence was in response to the government’s strategy to reach out and build a critical mass in support of peace.
He said that despite heavy fighting in Somalia, recent months have witnessed newfound reasons for hope, and that the Somali people have the best chance in two decades to end their suffering and move towards a better and more stable future. “The government’s efforts at building a consensus for reconciliation are slowly gaining ground, despite the serious challenge by well-funded radicals,” he stated.
He urged the international community to make a vital investment to nurture the fragile Somali peace process and help the government to establish its authority throughout the country and build its security and rule of law institutions.
The UN special representative for Somalia Ahmed Ould Abdallah blamed the recent clashes on the extremists whom he accused of bringing foreign fighters with the aim to topple the new government.
Meanwhile, the fighting between government forces and Islamist fighters in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, which started late last week, has advanced to the edge of the presidential palace. The fighting has reportedly focused near the presidential palace in the Wardigley district and in the north of the city at the Bondere and Karan areas.
In January, the UN Security Council signaled its intention to establish a UN force in the Horn of Africa country. It also requested Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to establish a trust fund to help support the existing African Union (AU) force, known as AMISOM, and to facilitate a logistical support package, training and equipment, in anticipation of its eventual absorption into a UN force.
The Horn of Africa nation has been marred by constant civil conflict dating as far back as in the early 1990’s. It is estimated that more than 16,000 civilians have been killed by fighting since the start of 2007, with thousands more displaced.
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