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Somalia: Islamic Court Action Threatening Peace

Somalia Tells UN Debate Islamic Courts’ Actions Are Threatening Peace Negotiations

New York, Sep 26 2006 8:00PM

Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government will not remain committed to peace talks with the country’s Union of Islamic Courts (ICU) if it persists in its “aggressive policies of attacks and territorial expansion,” the Somali Foreign Minister told the United Nations General Assembly today.

Ismael Mohamoud Hurreh, who is also Somalia’s Minister for International Cooperation, told the Assembly’s annual debate that the Union’s “concealed intentions are fast becoming evident to the Somali people and to the international community.”

He cited the Union’s recent move into areas outside of the capital, Mogadishu, such as Jowhar, Balad and Kismayo, describing the latest as being “in flagrant violation of the Khartoum peace agreement.”

“Despite all these violations of the peace agreement, the TFG (Transitional Federal Government) remains committed to the path of dialogue and negotiation with the ICU and relevant civil society organizations.”

Mr. Hurreh said the Transitional Government urgently needs greater support from the international community to establish administrative authority and competence across the country so that reconstruction and economic recovery can take place.

“This calls for a broad-based participatory partnership approach from the family of nations and provision of technical assistance to build efficient institutions that leverage the resiliency and potential of the Somali people.”

Earlier, he criticized the international community for not offering greater support to the Transitional Government after it was created in 2004.

“Consequently, a window of opportunity has been lost, which led to continued to violence and conflict.”

Echoing that theme, Kenyan Foreign Minister Raphael Tuju said it was time for the international community to realize that “the problem of Somalia is not going to go away unless we take deliberate steps to address the crisis.”

He stated that “this is the time to send in life-saving support. It is really a tribute to the resilience of the Somali people that there are still living human beings in that country.

“One day or one month without government, police, hospitals or banks in modern society is unimaginable. The Somalis have endured for 16 years. How much longer are they expected to endure? Where is the international rescue plan with a billion dollars? Where is the Marshall Plan?”

Mr. Tuju said the hijacking of merchant ships by local pirates off the coast of Somalia was an example of the danger that the Horn of Africa represents to the whole world, and not just its immediate region.

“As criminal elements establish their safe enclaves in a country like Somalia, the neighbouring countries and the international community are soon forced to intervene, even militarily, to free hostages, hunt terrorists or flush out rebels.”


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