News / Africa

UN Chief Urges Somalia to 'Seize Moment'

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon (L) stands next to Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali (C Left) after his arrival at Mogadishu's Adan Abulle airport, December 9, 2011.
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon (L) stands next to Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali (C Left) after his arrival at Mogadishu's Adan Abulle airport, December 9, 2011.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Somali’s capital Friday for talks on the future of the war-torn country. During his visit, Ban announced that the U.N. political office would be moved to Mogadishu in January from its present location in neighboring Kenya.

The office, called the United Nations Political Office for Somalia, was set up in 1995 to help the then-secretary-general connect with Somali leaders, civil society groups, and others with the goal of bringing about peace and reconciliation in the war-torn country.

Ban also said that his visit to the beleaguered capital was meant to boost morale as African Union troops have been chasing away al-Shabab militants from the capital and beyond.

“Being here is the most visible way for us to send clear message to the people of Somalia: You are not alone; the U.N. and broader international community will stand with you and will stay with you as you build your own future," he said. "This is my commitment as secretary-general; this is a United Nations priority.”

Ban met with Somali transitional President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden in the Somali presidential palace.

He also spoke with officials from AMISOM, troops deployed by the African Union to support the Transitional Federal Government, or TFG.  The United Nations facilitated the formation of the TFG through a lengthy negotiation process that began about a decade ago.

Analyst Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad, head of the research group Southlink based in Kenya, says he thinks moving the United Nations’ political office to Mogadishu is a vote of confidence for the TFG.

“That is a step forward in the right direction because right now Mogadishu is under the total control of the TFG.  It is a clear indication now, this time around, that the U.N. is serious about Somali issues.  At least they are going to have the closest office to the people of Somalia,” he said.

Abdiwahab says Kenya’s recent decision to send forces to the 12,000-strong AMISOM force - also consisting of troops from Burundi and Uganda - was a logical move.

“Kenya is one of the front-line states.  The war is costly.  Kenyans, they are looking for logistical support from AMISOM.  They cannot stay in Somalia indefinitely.  They cannot stay in Somalia for another two to three years because of the economy.”

Ban also praised Kenya for its recent decision to dispatch troops to the AMISOM mission, and thanked the governments of Burundi and Uganda for contributing troops.

The U.N. secretary-general stressed that all parties must move ahead quickly with the so-called “Roadmap,” a detailed plan on how move the government from being transitional to permanent.  The deadline is August 20 of next year.  The Roadmap is expected to end with the holding of democratic elections.

Ban’s visit marks the first time that a U.N. secretary-general has visited Somalia since 1993.

Somalia’s civil war dates back to 1991 with the overthrow of then-President Mohamed Siad Barre.  Throughout the years, the war has taken on different dimensions and combatants.

The current conflict involves clashes between the TFG and the militant group al-Shabab, which wants to impose strict Islamic law in Somalia.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid