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

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim 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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid