News / Africa

    Somalia on Track to End Failed State Status

    Somalia's parliament, May 2012. Somalia's parliament, May 2012.
    x
    Somalia's parliament, May 2012.
    Somalia's parliament, May 2012.
    Peter Heinlein
    ADDIS ABABA - Somalia's main political entities have ended three days of often-heated talks, saying they remain committed to a political process leading to a post-transitional government by August.  
     
    Participants say the United Nations-sponsored talks were surprisingly congenial given the number of contentious issues facing Somalia's often-hostile clans. 
     
    In the end, the six parties agreed to put some difficult issues, and many of the less important ones, aside in the interest of keeping to a timetable for creation of a post-transitional government in less than 90 days.
     
    Transitional Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, considered the driving force behind the so-called Road Map timetable, said the parties had been motivated by the desire to end Somalia's reputation as a failed state. "Sometimes you can have some kind of heated discussions, but ultimately all signatories have shown they are committed to ending this transition on time to take Somalia to the next level and to bring Somalia back to community of nations as a useful member as it has always been," he said. 
     
    The agreement signed at the end of the talks commits all sides to a rigorous schedule for rebuilding the state. 
     
    It calls for formation of a Constituent Assembly within four weeks, and adoption of a provisional constitution by July 10th.  That will be followed 10 days later by the swearing in of a new parliament, which will complete the transition by electing a president before the transition deadline of August 20th.
     
    Transitional President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, who could lose his post in the process, hailed the new spirit of cooperation among clans and factions, some with long histories of squabbling.  He spoke in Somali with an interpreter. "All road map signatories came with goodwill and good faith and open mind and we have done good work together.  And we have made new commitment to work closely for the remaining time of transition," he said. 
     
    The African Union special envoy for Somalia, former Ghanaian president Jerry Rawlings, hailed the new attitude that seems to be bringing Somalia back from 20 years of lawlessness and misery.  He said as recently as six months ago, few would have taken seriously talk of a functioning post-transition government. 
     
    Rawlings said part of the credit goes to Prime Minister Ali, an academic who returned to his native country from the United States less than a year ago. "Some kind of chemistry, as I've described it, some kind of dynamics seems to have taken place that is bringing the body politic together.  They seem to be jelling, and the only way I can describe it in one word is that the political process has finally given us some hope," he said. 
     
    Several participants also credited Somalia's improved security environment as a key factor in creating a stable political atmosphere. 
     
    A newly energized African Union military force has cleared Mogadishu of al-Qaida-linked extremists for the first time in years.  And as the meetings were ending, word was received from the battlefield that pro-government forces are routing the extremists in another of their strongholds northwest of the capital.
     

    You May Like

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora