'THE KAMPALA TRAGEDY HAS HEIGHTENED INTERNATIONAL
ATTENTION AND CONCERN. THE CURRENT POLITICAL AND SECURITY IMPASSE DEMANDS URGENT ACTION' SAYS U.N. ENVOY
Nairobi, Kenya, August 14, 2010 – UN top envoy for Somalia has called on all Somali Diaspora to join him as he embarked on the difficult task of reconciliation in the Horn of Africa nation which will see him focus on peace and security.
In a letter to the Diaspora received o on Friday, Augustine P. Mahiga, the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative to Somalia also said that his key priorities for Somalia are "reconciliation which rests on dialogue, political inclusiveness, public security, humanitarian action and reconstruction," all priorities which he believes are mutually reinforcing.
Mahiga said it was equally important for every Somali to remain committed to peace and reconciliation in their country which has been without effective central government for about two decades.
"Somalis have, through the Djibouti Peace Agreement, shown that they are capable of working through their differences.
"Your culture of accommodating each other, moderation and consensus building should prevail at this time," he wrote.
The Special Representative, who recently replaced Ahmedou Ould- Abdallah in the post, said the past month has witnessed strides made towards drawing up a constitution, one of the key tasks of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).
"I remain committed to the attainment of the goal of peace and security in Somalia and I shall continue from where my predecessor left off mobilizing and increasing international support for Somalia," Mahiga wrote.
"In partnership with all those who support the peace process, you in the Diaspora, can ensure that the existing prospects for peace are harnessed into tangible outcomes - better security and improved conditions for the long suffering Somali people."
The UN envoy said every opportunity offered by those who support the peace process should be seized to return Somalia to its rightful place among the community of nations.
"I believe that the Somali Diaspora is, and always will be, an indispensable stakeholder in this undertaking," the envoy said in his first letter to the Diaspora.
Mahiga said last month's deadly twin bombings which struck the Ugandan capital, Kampala, allegedly carried out by a Somali-based militant group, underscore how the effects of the long-running conflict in Somalia are spreading beyond its borders.
The group known as Al-Shabaab reportedly claimed responsibility for the attacks in Kampala, which claimed more than 70 lives among Ugandans and people of other nationalities as they were watching the final match of the soccer World Cup.
The UN envoy who expressed his condolences for the families of the victims and to all Ugandans, said the July attacks further confirmed the regional and international ramifications of the conflict.
The country, he said, is already high on the agendas of organizations, such as the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which have issued decisions recently calling for decisive action in tackling the crisis in Somalia.
"The Kampala tragedy has heightened international attention and concern. "The current political and security impasse demands urgent action," Mahiga said. The top UN envoy to the troubled Horn of African nation said consultation process to draft the document is officially set to start soon, allowing Somalis both inside and outside the country to make comments on the text.
"This will be a unique opportunity for Somalis to shape their destiny," the official wrote.
While the security situation in Somalia generates much concern, he stressed the importance of building public institutions and facilitating the delivery of basic services. "While the security situation is currently creating the most concern, I would like to emphasize that building public institutions and creating conditions for the delivery of basic services to the Somali people must be high priority areas," he said.
Mahiga said there can be no doubt that areas such as education, health, water and sanitation remain critical to the Somali people in their daily well-being, highlighting the role that the Diaspora can play in improving the situation in these areas.
The latest development came after the UN envoy said increased representation of the UN Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) in the Horn of Africa nation will help to further the peace process in the country.
The office, which is headed by Mahiga, has been based in Nairobi due to security concerns.
Within the next few months, UNPOS will have increased numbers of both international and national staff in Garowe and Hargeisa in the self-declared autonomous regions of Puntland and Somaliland, respectively, to join national staff already on the ground, he said early this week.