Somali leaders must match political progress with improved security, Annan says

19 February 2004 –

With the selection of a Somali transitional national parliament on the horizon, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on the leaders of the Horn of Africa country to ensure that political progress is accompanied by a tangible improvement in security.

In a report released today, he says the members of the transitional parliament, when chosen, will elect the transitional president, laying the foundation for an effective, working system of government after years of civil conflict.

Progress in the two areas "would be conducive to the implementation of a political agreement," which would lend the agreement the credibility needed to gather the full support of Somalis and the international community.

"Insecurity and violence in many parts of the country and more recently tensions over control of the Sol and Sanaag regions underline the fact that a comprehensive peace is both urgent and necessary in Somalia," he says. "Somali leaders and their militias should also be aware that they will be held accountable for continued violations of human rights."

He commends the chairman of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, their officials and international observers for their persistent and strenuous efforts to facilitate Somali reconciliation.

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