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11 September 2012 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the selection of a new president for Somalia, the final step in the war-torn East African nation’s political transition process.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was selected as President of the Federal Republic of Somalia on Monday, following a vote which involved two rounds of balloting in the country’s so-called New Federal Parliament in the capital, Mogadishu.
“The selection of the new President brings an end to the eight-year political transition. The Secretary-General congratulates the New Federal Parliament and its Speaker for the peaceful and orderly conduct of the process,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statementThe Secretary-General encourages the new President to move expeditiously, to appoint an inclusive, accountable Government that can begin the work of peacebuilding in the country.
“He also pays tribute to all the signatories of the Roadmap for Ending the Transition for the important role they have played to bring the process to a successful conclusion,” the spokesperson added, while also noting that the UN chief congratulates Mr. Sheikh Mohamud on his selection.
After decades of warfare, Somalia has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with the country’s transitional governing arrangements coming to an end with the selection of a president – a key and final part of the so-called Roadmap for Ending the Transition, which Somali authorities had been implementing.
Monday’s selection marks the culmination of a series of landmark steps contained in the Roadmap. These include the adoption of Somalia’s provisional constitution, the establishment of the New Federal Parliament and the appointment of that body’s Speaker.
“The Secretary-General encourages the new President to move expeditiously, to appoint an inclusive, accountable Government that can begin the work of peacebuilding in the country,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said. “He urges Somali and international actors alike to pledge their continued support.”
He added that the UN chief looks forward to the upcoming high-level meeting on Somalia in the margins of the General Assembly later this month, which will be “an opportunity for Somalia’s new leadership to consolidate the partnership with the international community.”
The Secretary-General also thanked his Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine P. Mahiga, and the staff of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), as well as the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and other stakeholders for their “tireless and dedicated work” in support of the peace process in Somalia.
Earlier Tuesday, Mr. Mahiga and his deputy paid a courtesy visit on President Sheikh Mohamud in Mogadishu, congratulating him and pledging to support the new Somali Government.
According to an UNPOS news release, they also “paid tribute to the integrity and quality of the process, which was both representative and transparent,” and President Sheikh Mohamud indicated that he was looking forward to work with the United Nations.
In a statement on Monday night, Mr. Mahiga said while much remains to be done in the war-torn country, Somalis can be proud of the transition process that culminated in the selection of a new president.
“The transition is over – Somalia must now focus on stabilization, reconciliation and building sustainable and accountable institutions of governance capable of providing services to its people,” the Special Representative said.
He added, “We salute all candidates regardless of the outcome. I call on the winners to be magnanimous in victory, the losers to be gracious in defeat and for all to lead Somalia forward to a brighter day. All Somalis must now reconcile for the good of the nation at this remarkable moment in the country’s history.”
Until last year, most of Mogadishu, was, for several years, riven by a fluid frontline dividing the two sides – Al Shabaab fighters and Government troops, with the latter supported by the UN-backed AMISOM forces. Displaced by fighting and drought elsewhere in the country, some 184,000 people have sought humanitarian relief in the city.
Since the Al Shabaab withdrawal from the capital’s central parts in August last year, the frontlines have been pushed back to the city’s surrounding area. However, the use of roadside bombs, grenades and suicide bombers still take place, as do armed clashes.
Since late May, AMISOM, Government troops and their allies pushed into the Afgooye corridor, outside of Mogadishu, and also gained control of the town of Balad, located within an important agricultural area near the capital.
11 September 2012 Sierra Leone is making steady progress in rebuilding after a devastating civil war, United Nations officials told the Security Council today, adding that forthcoming elections are an opportunity to further consolidate peace and the achievements of the past decade.
“The successful conduct of elections will demonstrate the maturity of Sierra Leone’s political leadership and institutions, as well as the consolidation of the democratic process in the country,” the Secretary-General’s Executive Representative in Sierra Leone, Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, said in his briefing.
The West African nation is scheduled to hold four elections, namely presidential, parliamentary, local council and mayoral, on 17 November.
Mr. Toyberg-Frandzen, who heads the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), said major electoral arrangements, with technical assistance from the UN, are on track. In addition, training of the police and the provision of the necessary logistics are well under way, since providing an enabling security environment for the electoral process will be crucial.
Addressing the same meeting, Ambassador Guillermo E. Rishchynski of Canada, who serves as chair of the Sierra Leone configuration of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, told Council members that the country faces an important moment in its history.
“The elections scheduled for November represent a crucial test and are widely viewed as a core benchmark for peace consolidation,” he said.
Mr. Rishchynski noted that while there is good reason to expect technically sound and well-managed elections, the greater challenge is political. “All national stakeholders must fulfil their responsibility to create an environment conducive to success elections,” he said.
The Commission, he added, plans to travel to the capital, Freetown, next month to “take stock of the situation” and engage with all relevant stakeholders ahead of the polls.
Both men stressed that several of the country’s remaining challenges are long-term in nature and will require sustained investment over a substantial period of time. These include unemployment, especially among young people, corruption, high living costs, and tackling transnational organized crime.
“Sierra Leoneans have demonstrated tremendous determination in rebuilding their country after a devastating civil war,” said Mr. Rishchynski. “The international community needs to continue standing shoulder to shoulder with them in the years to come.”
Sierra Leone, whose civil war ended in 2002, was the first country, together with Burundi, to be put on the agenda of the UN Peacebuilding Commission when it was set up in 2006 to prevent post-conflict countries from relapsing back into bloodshed.
Open Letter from Dr Omer M Shurkian Principal Representative of the SPLM-N Office in the UK and the Republic of Ireland to the British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
Dr Omer M Shurkian,
Date: September 10th 2012
Rt Hon William Hague, MP
It is now over a year since the renewal of hostilities in both South Kordofan and Blue Niles States in the Sudan on June 6th and September 1st 2011, respectively. Over such a period, the humanitarian situation has been extremely deteriorated by fighting. The plight of civilian population in the Two Areas is appalling, and human rights abuses are increasingly on the rise. These human rights violations include aerial bombings and artillery bombardments of civilian targets, summary executions of SPLM members and sympathisers, kidnapping and murdering of internally displaced persons and refugees, burning and destruction of villages, health and education centres, worshipping buildings, market places, food stocks, and looting of properties and animals, to mention but a few. It is beyond words to describe the barbaric acts of reaction as shown by the Sudan Armed Forces against non-combatants in the war-stricken zones. The photographic evidences of victims we continuously receive from the conflict-affected areas are horrifying, heart-rending and enraging. They are too gruesome to be seen by, or to be shown to, anybody. The abuses are absolutely barbaric; they are systematic.
From the early weeks of hostilities, the SPLM-N has so far signed the Framework Agreement with the Sudan Government on Political Partnership and Political and Security Arrangements in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan States in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on June 28th 2011. Not only did the Sudan Government reject categorically the agreement, though it was signed by one of its key leaders, but it went on to launch another war in the Blue Nile State, dismissed its duly elected Governor and the Sudan Armed Forces were unleashed on unarmed population, committing atrocities against them. On February 9th 2012, the UN, AU and the League of Arab States submitted to the warring parties a proposal for access to provide and deliver humanitarian assistance to the war-affected areas of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States.
While the SPLM-N signed the tripartite proposal, the Government in Khartoum refused to sign, depriving its citizens of a chance to survive. All diplomatic efforts to date have failed. The UN Security Council Resolution 2046 of May 2nd 2012 called for the conflict in Sudan’s Two Areas to end, and stressed the urgent need for a negotiated political solution, based on respect for diversity in unity. In particular, the resolution urges the Sudan and the SPLM-N to accept the tripartite proposal to permit humanitarian access and deliver emergency assistance to the affected population in the Two Areas. The Government of Sudan has rejected the resolution. On August 4th 2012, the SPLM-N signed the Memorandum of Understanding with the Tripartite Partners (the African Union, the League of Arab States ant he United Nations) on humanitarian assistance to war affected-areas in Blue Nile and South Kordofan States.
We, therefore, appeal to the British Government to put pressure upon the Sudan Government to achieve the followings:
- urgent humanitarian relief and assistance are needed by granting aid organisations immediate and unhindered access to the conflict-affected areas in the exerting economic, political and diplomatic pressures upon the Sudan Government to honour and implement all agreements it has signed with either the SPLM-N or the tripartite partners under the auspices of AUHIP, including the Memorandum of Understanding as signed on August 5th 2012;
- an investigation of human rights violations to be carried out by ‘an independent international institution or committee, with the purpose of realising justices and averting the recurrence of such atrocities.’ This will uphold the international law and the pursuance of justice;
- embark on a concerted effort to reach a durable, political solution to this renewed conflict in the two states through looking into the political future of the whole Sudan whereby new modalities for the co-existence of all marginalised people of Sudan could participate fully and equally in power- and wealth-sharing.
These peace-building blocks alluded to are not entirely the SPLM-N’s demands; it is worth noting that the Sudan Government/National Congress Party had agreed and signed the Declaration of Principles with the SPLM-N in Addis Ababa on June 28th 2011 in which a number of the above-mentioned peace-blocks were stipulated.
In the name of humanity, dignity, morality and human rights, we cordially appeal to you to exert your influence upon the UK Government to rescue the citizens of these Two Areas from these appalling situations and imminent extermination by the Sudan Government. They are looking for the International Community for survival and justice. They were failed before by the UN in the past civil war (1983-2005). Will they be failed again?
Thank you very much.
Dr Omer M Shurkian
Principal Representative of the SPLM-N Office in the UK and the Republic of Ireland
• Copy to Rt Hon George Mudie, MP
Dr Omer M Shurkian is the Principal Representative of the SPLM-N Office in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article43860