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Somalia: UN Envoy Hails Progress On Peace Accord

Somalia: United Nations Envoy Ahmedou Ould-abdallah Hails Progress On Last Month's Peace Accord

16 July 2008 - The top United Nations official for Somalia has praised the strife-torn nation's parties for working quickly to advance the peace deal reached last month in neighbouring Djibouti.

"The progress made so far has been encouraging," said Special Representative Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, who led the 10 days of talks that resulted in the Djibouti Agreement of 9 June. "A month ago, Somali leaders from different backgrounds made a courageous step forward to restoring the dignity of their wounded country."

Under the Agreement, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia agreed to end their conflict and called on the UN to deploy an international stabilization force to the troubled Horn of Africa country, which has not had a functioning government since 1991.

Mr. Ould-Abdallah noted that the support of Somalia's regional and international partners, including the European Union, Norway and the United States which had already mobilized significant resources for carrying out the peace deal, had been crucial in the progress made so far.

He pointed out that the Security Council would be discussing Somalia soon, and voiced the hope that a joint Somali delegation would undertake a mission to New York.

"After 18 years of armed confrontation that has evolved from a political struggle to a conflict between and among tribes, there is now hope that we will see the dawning of a new era," he stated. "The path towards Somalia regaining its dignity and sovereignty is irreversible."

He also condemned the "senseless killing" of innocent Somalis, including the head of the UN Development Programme office in Mogadishu and numerous aid convoy drivers employed by the UN World Food Programme, calling such acts "unacceptable."

The violence has hindered aid efforts in the country, which is facing a humanitarian crisis caused by conflict, drought, and price rises in basic commodities. Some 2.6 million Somalis - representing 35 per cent of the population - are believed to be in need of humanitarian aid.

Stressing that "today is a critical moment in Somalia's history," the Special Representative appealed to all Somalis to unite for peace in their homeland.

ENDS

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