Top UN envoy calls for Somalis to work together to overcome political

UN Special Representative Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah has also expressed his deep sadness at the deaths of some 20 Somali women in a bombing in the capital on Sunday.“These women were killed [while] trying to do their work and improve life in Mogadishu by cleaning the streets. Nothing can justify the deaths of innocent victims, especially wives and mothers such as these who were working hard to make ends meet,” he said.“After so many years of violence, Somalis should use this sad time to regain their sense of dignity through working together for lasting peace,” he added.Voicing concern over the current problems regarding the administration of Mogadishu, the Special Representative urged all Somalis to remain united in the quest for peace and reconciliation in the country, which has not had a functioning government since 1991.“The Somali people knew there would be challenges on the path to peace and they should not be discouraged,” Mr. Ould-Abdallah said in a statement issued on Saturday. “As the end of the transition period is less than a year away, I call on the Somali people to remain united and solve their political problems.”Under the peace agreement reached on 9 June in neighbouring Djibouti, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) agreed to end their conflict and called on the UN to deploy an international stabilization force to the troubled Horn of Africa country.He added that it was unfortunate that this situation came at a time when the parties which signed the Djibouti Agreement have just submitted the names of their participants in the two key committees.The envoy said the Joint Security Committee, which is tasked with following up on the implementation of security arrangements, and the High Level Committee, which will deal with political cooperation, justice and reconciliation, will be holding meetings shortly.“I welcome this important step by the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia and their continuing commitment to the Agreement,” said Mr. Ould-Abdallah. “We must keep moving forward to ensure the Agreement is fully implemented as soon as possible.”The political problems also come at a time when the country 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. 4 August 2008The top United Nations envoy to Somalia has called on the people of the strife-torn nation to work together to overcome the political problems that are threatening to unravel a peace deal reached in June, amid reports that two-thirds of the country’s government ministers have resigned and the Mayor of Mogadishu has been fired.

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