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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:56, September 10, 2005
UN envoy appeals for restraint as tensions build in Somalia
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The United Nations envoy for Somalia has appealed for restraint from all parties in the lawless nation and the opening of dialogue between them as tension built in Jowhar, the temporary seat of the fledgling government.

"I am concerned at the escalation of tensions in Jowhar and Mogadishu, and appeal for restraint from all parties," Francois Lonseny Fall, Secretary General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Somalia, said in a statement issued here Friday.

Fall said there could be no military solution to the divisions that have persisted in Somalia for so long.

"The suffering of the population has continued at unacceptable cost to all Somalis for more than 14 years," he lamented.

The statement came as 13 UN international staff members were relocated from Jowhar, 90 km north of the capital Mogadishu, on Thursday in the face of the military buildup and threats issued on Wednesday.

Six UN staff members were flown to Wajid in southwestern Somalia and seven were relocated temporarily in Nairobi.

"I urge all sides to make a serious effort to begin an inclusive dialogue. It's high time that the Transitional Federal Institutions begin to function as intended," Fall said.

"Their inability to resolve their differences is undermining the very essence of the agreements they reached after the national reconciliation conference last October," the envoy added.

He also reminded the parties of their obligations to ensure the safety and security of UN international and national staff and charged them to respect the sanctity of UN premises.

The UN envoy is currently in Stockholm as part of a three-country visit to seek a strong involvement of political leaders for his efforts to foster dialogue within the Transitional Federal Institutions.

Somalia's transitional institutions have been divided over where the seat of government should be in their country after their relocation from Nairobi in June this year.

President Abdullahi Yusuf, Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Gedi and their supporters maintain that Mogadishu must be secured before they can transfer the government to the city.

A section of the government, including several prominent faction leaders, strongly disagreed with the decision to install the administration in Jowhar.

The proposed deployment of peacekeepers, particularly from Somalia's neighbors, has also deeply divided the new government.

Somalia has had no operational government for the past 14 years, following the collapse in 1991 of the government of the late president Muhammad Siad Barre. Civil war erupted soon after Barre was toppled, as various factions leaders fought for power.

Source: Xinhua

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