Security Council backs national reconciliation conference for Somalia

In a statement read out in an open meeting by its President, Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby of Norway, the Council reiterated its support for the Arta peace process, “which continues to be the most viable basis for peace and national reconciliation in Somalia.”The wide-ranging statement also supported the call last month on the so-called frontline States of Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Summit to coordinate their efforts for national reconciliation in Somalia.The Council also encouraged UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, through his Special Advisor and the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), to support actively the IGAD initiative “in this important period ahead.”As for recent fighting in the capital, Mogadishu, and in the Gedo region, the Council called for an immediate end to all acts of violence in the country and condemned the leaders of those armed factions who continue to be obstacles to peace and stability.The 15-member body also noted with serious concern the continued flow of weapons and ammunition supplies to Somalia from other countries and the reported training of militia and plans for major offensives in southern and northeastern parts of the country. It called on all countries to honour the arms embargo and to report any violations to its oversight committee, while expressing the determination to set up by the end of April a mechanism to monitor and enforce the weapons ban.On the humanitarian front, the Council drew attention to the urgent need for international assistance in covering food and water shortfalls. It further underlined that longer-term interventions were required to stimulate economic recovery, rebuild household asset bases and promote sustained productivity.In the meantime, the Council asked the Secretary-General to urgently coordinate peace-building activities and provide for their incremental expansion, taking into account the security situation in the country. It also requested Mr. Annan to immediately set up a trust fund to support those programmes and supplement the UN’s Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for humanitarian aid.

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