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

Kurdish Party Pushes Political Gamble to Run in Turkey Poll

HDP announces it will run as political party instead of fielding independent candidates in June election, but faces tough 10 percent threshold More

Twitter Targets Islamic State

New research shows suspending Twitter accounts of Islamic State, its supporters has been effective; group, its backers are facing 'significant pressure,' says terrorism expert More

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

Majur Juac made the leap from being a refugee in Africa to a master chess champion in US, where he shares his expertise with students 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.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures. For now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid