22 June 2010 Encouraging reconciliation between warring political groups and boosting basic public security are critical to stabilizing Somalia, the incoming United Nations envoy to the troubled Horn of Africa country said today.
Augustine Mahiga, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), told UN Radio that promoting reconciliation and a more inclusive political process must be a priority in a country that has not had a functioning national government in two decades.
“But this is predicated upon the existence of a modicum of security in Somalia to enable this Transitional [Federal] Government or a government that brings in other political groupings to survive,” he said.
“So I would say the two go together – political stability as a result of a process of reconciliation and inclusiveness, but also a security adequate to permit the government to reach out to the population and perform the functions of a government such as providing humanitarian aid and implementing some basic reconstruction activities and, at some point, to engage in economic and social development projects.”
Mr. Mahiga, the former Tanzanian ambassador to the UN, succeeds Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah as the top UN official for Somalia, the scene of one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with large sections of the population displaced and fighting continuing between Government forces and Islamist rebels.
Responding to a question, he said it was “far-fetched cynicism” to suggest that there will never be peace in Somalia.
“The underlying thing is that any conflict to be durably resolved has to pursue a peaceful path and I think this is how even the most protracted and complex conflicts in the world have at the end of the day been resolved peacefully – peaceful resolution in an inclusive way rather than through violence.”
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