Somalia: UN envoy voices concern about parliamentary infighting

Special Representative Augustine Mahiga. UN Photo/Stuart Price

6 January 2012 – The United Nations envoy for Somalia today expressed deep concern over the country’s ongoing political disputes warning that, if not resolved, the country could miss a rare window of opportunity to end its 21 years of conflict.

According to media reports, a scuffle broke out in Somalia’s Parliament on Wednesday as lawmakers disputed the election of the legislature’s new Speaker. The brawl, which saw some parliamentarians engage in fist-fighting, reportedly sent three to the hospital.

“This clash is particularly ill-timed, coming at a moment when the entire region, and indeed the international community as a whole, is scaling up attention and support for Somalia to advance the recent gains on the security and political tracks,” said Augustine P. Mahiga, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, who also wished those injured a speedy recovery.

Mr. Mahiga noted that the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) would continue to support efforts “to seek a peaceful resolution to the controversy among parliamentarians” and help the country’s Government find a solution to the impasse.

“UNPOS stands ready to facilitate with good offices to end this distracting quarrel, which serves to help neither Somalia nor the Somali people and is detrimental to the peace process,” he stated.

The political developments in Somalia come against the backdrop of a major improvement in the country’s security, especially since August, when the insurgents of Al Shabaab were forced to withdraw from the capital, Mogadishu, under pressure from forces supporting the transitional Government and the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM).


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