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New UN Somalia envoy to focus on reconciliation

06-23-2010 17:45 BJT

NAIROBI, June 23 (Xinhua) -- The newly appointed UN top envoy for Somalia said he would focus on political reconciliation and basic security as he prepares to begin his mission in the Horn of Africa nation.

Augustine Mahiga, the Secretary General's Special Representative and the head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) said encouraging reconciliation between warring political groups and boosting basic public security are critical to stabilizing Somalia. "But this is predicated upon the existence of a modicum of security in Somalia to enable this Transitional government or a government that brings in other political groupings to survive," he told UN Radio late Tuesday.

He said promoting reconciliation and a more inclusive political process must be a priority in a country that has not had a functioning national government in nearly two decades.

"So I would say the two go together -- political stability as a result of a process of reconciliation and inclusiveness, but also a security adequate to permit the government to reach out to the population and perform the functions of a government such as providing humanitarian aid and implementing some basic reconstruction activities and, at some point, to engage in economic and social development projects."

The lawless Horn of Africa has been without a functioning government since 1991 when President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown by warring factions.

The UN-backed Transitional Federal Government controls only parts of the capital and faces opposition from various rebel groups seeking to establish an Islamic state.

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