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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs