UN SEES “UNIQUE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY FOR PEACE IN SOMALIA,”.

Halkaan ka akhri

UNITED NATIONS – / 28 May 2009 – The UN Secretary General spoke out today against the violence that has proved resurgent in Somalia over the last several weeks. However, he also “believes there is a unique window of opportunity for peace in Somalia,” although “the situation is fragile and international assistance is needed now.” , Yemen, Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti, Eritrea and Tanzania.

Ban Ki-Moon had harsh words for the rebel Al-Shabaab and Hisb-ul-Islam fighters who have since 8 May launched repeated strikes against the soldiers of the Transitional Federal Government. As a result of these clashes in Mogadishu , more than 67,000 Somalis have had to flee their homes. The toll of those hurt or dead as a result of the violence is also on the rise.

Many of them are now in crude displaced persons camps near the Afgooye corridor, joining some 400,000 people displaced over the course of the country’s years of tumult and unrest. IN total, there are some 1.3 million Somalis within the country who have had to flee their homes and another half a million in other countries, among them Kenya

A spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees revealed that “[t]hose displaced who are unable to make the 30-kilometre journey have sought refuge in south-western parts of Mogadishu that have not yet been overrun by fighting.”

The Secretary General told the international community, “This campaign of violence is aimed at the forceful overthrow of a legitimate government which has reached out to its opponents in a spirit of reconciliation, through an ‘open door’ policy and negotiations.”

His spokesperson explained that, “In the face of this ongoing threat to the peace process, Somalia’s government is appealing for international assistance, and the Secretary-General wishes to strongly and urgently echo that appeal.” He asked UN members to provide the new funding and other help that they promised recently to sustain Somalia’s nascent central government and continue the operations of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). until 31 January 2010.

The Security Council has likewise spoken out against the ongoing violence and has lengthened AMISOM’s stay in Somalia

Meanwhile, aid organizations are having great difficulty reaching the thousands of Somalis who are in need of their help. UNHCR has said that “[l]ocal agencies that have been providing a lifeline to the IDPs are facing growing security problems as they try to help the needy.” Further, an assault on the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Office in Jowhar destroyed thousands of vaccines, as well as other provisions and equipment.

The Secretary General’s statement today perhaps represents a more optimistic stance than that of his Special Representative in Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah who characterized conditions there as “very difficult … but not hopeless.”

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