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Somalia: Bold, Decisive And Fast Action Needed

Somalia: UN envoy calls on Security Council to take 'bold, decisive and fast action'

23 July 2008 - The United Nations envoy to Somalia told the Security Council today that there were limited choices for bringing peace to the violence-wracked Horn of Africa country, but that the time had come to make a final decision on the best possible option.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah said that the options included converting the current African Union peacekeeping mission to Somalia, known as AMISOM, to a UN operation by "rehatting" the troops, creating an international stabilization force or establishing a new UN peacekeeping force.

Mr. Ould-Abdallah also called on the Council to make a strong public expression of support for the peace agreement signed in Djibouti in June between the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia.

"Given that Somalis have suffered for so long, and the current favourable political context following the Djibouti Agreement, it is time for the Security Council to take bold, decisive and fast action," he said in a statement to the council.

"An effective implementation of the Agreement should be an incentive to bring more Somalis on board and give them a chance to contribute to the birth of their country," he said, noting that "in all peace processes some individuals or groups always set out by rejecting agreements."

Acknowledging that violence had been pervasive in Somalia for a long time, the envoy said the Djibouti Agreement provided an opportunity to marginalize and eventually stop such violence. He also called for a review of the names on the Security Council sanctions list to recognize the role of individuals who had decided to change their behaviour and support peace.

Mr. Ould-Abdallah added that the peace agreement should provide security for humanitarian programmes in the country, in particular for naval escorts for the UN World Food Programme (WFP), which brings 80 per cent of its food aid to Somalia by sea. He said that it was unfortunate that these escorts had now ceased.

On the humanitarian front, the envoy said he sympathized with Somali nations who constitute more than 95 per cent of aid workers in south and central Somalia.

"They risk their lives daily and all too often have been the innocent victims of targeted killings. With international determination, as shown in Kosovo and elsewhere, the individuals carrying out these terrible deeds should not be given a chance to prevail," he said.

ENDS

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