15 May 2010 One week before a major international conference on the future of Somalia, the top United Nations envoy to the Horn of Africa country today urged unity on the 67th anniversary of the creation of the Somali Youth League, the political party which united the country and played a role in its fight for independence from colonization.
“On this very day 67 years ago, a group of Somali patriots got together without concerns for regional or tribal affiliations and forged together their determination for the liberty and dignity of their country,” said Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General''s Special Representative.
“On this historical day, on behalf of the United Nations Secretary-General, I would like to salute the memory of these patriots.”
The Somali Youth League formed in 1943 and succeeded in uniting the country''s ruling clans to overthrow British and Italian rule.
The Somali Government collapsed in 1991, casting the country into chaos between clans, political factions, and armed groups.
Fighting over the past few years between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which is supported by African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM) with logistical assistance from the United Nations, and Islamist rebels has led to some 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), some 575,000 refugees and nearly 3 million people dependent on aid, out of a total population of nearly 8 million.
“I would like also to call on the Somali elites in and outside the country to show unity in their vision and actions to reject blatant interference undermining their independence and dignity,” Mr. Ould-Abdallah added.
The Special-Representative''s statement comes one week before a major international conference on political stability, security and reconstruction in Somalia. The gathering will be convened by the Turkish Government and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 22 May in Istanbul.
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