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Envoy 'Encouraged' by Declaration on Somalia

UN Envoy ‘Encouraged’ by Declaration from African Ministers on Conflict-Ridden Somalia

New York, Aug 2 2006 7:00PM

The senior United Nations envoy to Somalia has welcomed a policy declaration put out by African ministers pledging to follow key UN policies on the war-ravaged country, which has not had a functioning government since 1991, a spokesman for the world body said today.

The Council of Ministers of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) issued the declaration after an emergency meeting on Monday called by Kenya to discuss the worsening situation in Somalia, which was also attended by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, François Lonsény Fall.

“The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia… said that he was encouraged by the meeting and spirit of yesterday’s policy declaration by the Council of Ministers of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD),” UN spokesman Marie Okabe told reporters in New York. IGAD groups together Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

“The UN Political Office for Somalia said that the Council of Ministers has agreed to adhere strictly to the UN Security Council arms embargo on Somalia and to uphold other key UN policies.”

At the meeting, Mr. Fall stressed the importance of continued dialogue between Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government and the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts, whose forces recently took over the Somali capital Mogadishu. He is in touch with all the parties in the country and said the political process was now in a “critical stage.”

Separately, a UN humanitarian assessment team today undertook a one-day mission to Mogadishu to identify ways of scaling up aid activities in the capital, the spokesman said.


ENDS

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