The UN Special Representative for Somalia has called the resignation of Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf “a patriotic and courageous decision.” Ahmedou Ould-Abdallahis also calling for an end to the violence. He spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about Mr. Yusuf’s decision to step down.
“I am convinced that this is the first time in Somali history that the president has resigned peacefully. So, I think it is courageous and it is patriotic,” he says.He says this is a time for unity and solidarity. “We should not demonize Somalia. Somalia is also men, women and so on. So, I think the former president, his family and friends...(are) a new era,” he says.
Ould-Abdallah says the resignation sets a good example for Somali political leaders. He says, “People of his generation should consider the time has come for change. You have some people who have been in politics in Somalia…since 1991. So, maybe for patriotic reasons, they should think that there is a different way to make politics. Some may turn the page over. And for those who are present, like the speaker, prime minister and all…who are involved in politics, should give him respect and try to make in a very quick manner and peaceful manner his replacement.”
Asked whether the resignation might lead to more fruitful peace negotiations over and above that of the Djibouti peace process, the UN special envoy says, “The Djibouti process is open to everyone, is open to all Somalis within and outside of the country.”He adds, “Somalis, themselves, are victims of the war. Somalis in general would like peace. They consider themselves hostages of their elite, the elite inside Somalia and outside Somalia. There is no doubt in my opinion that they have a point. When I say Somalis should be open (to the peace process), it is to all the political leaders who are now…waiting. I think they should start talking to their compatriots and as the chief negotiator I am open to them.”
He says the international community must do more to help Somalia, “to renew in an effective manner the relationship with Somalia. Not only a commitment of money, but the very, very big problem we have today in Somalia is the ineffective delivery of assistance. There’s a big problem there.” The humanitarian crisis in Somalia, caused by the ongoing fighting, is considered one of the worst in the world.