UN Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Jan Eliasson, on Thursday stressed the need for widespread support from the international community for the new Somali government to help it succeed in its reform efforts.
Eliasson, who was addressing UN reporters in New York, noted that some of the biggest
challenges for Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud were to assert his authority across the entire country and to grow relations with its neighbours.
The briefing followed the UN deputy scribe’s participation at the Somalia International Conference in London earlier this week.
He said: “Mr. Mohamud’s challenge is to establish authority in all of Somalia and I think it’s important for the international community to support this desire to create a well-functioning federal state.”
He said the second challenge for Somalia was to develop a “neighbourhood” relation that
was positive adding that the relationship between Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia was crucial for Somalia’s development.
Mr. Eliasson told reporters that he met with the Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopian leaders, saying that he was encouraged by the growing dialogue among them and expressed the hope that this would lead to peaceful regional context.
“I was encouraged by the growing dialogue between these three countries and I would hope that we would see it developing with a strengthened direction of a well-functioning Somalia supported by the new structure of the UN after the Security Council decision two weeks ago, and also a relationship with neighbours that will also help Somalia continue on the reform path.”
The conference, co-hosted by Somalia leader and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, took place during what participants called in the final communique “a pivotal moment” for Somalia, as it rebuilds from two decades of factional fighting that followed the 1991 ousting of President Siad Barre.
The event also raised some US$300 million for Somalia’s security sector.
In 2011, Islamist Al-Shabaab insurgents retreated from Mogadishu, and last year, new Government institutions emerged, as the country ended a transitional phase towards setting up a permanent, democratically-elected government.
Mr. Eliasson also said the conference was a show of solidarity and support for the new leadership in Somalia, but noted absence of the delegations of the regions of Somaliland and Puntland.
“We hope that all factions and all clans of Somalia would see it in their interest to support the reform efforts of the President who has been selected by all clans and all parts of the country at an earlier stage,” he added.