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Somalia begins "profound transformation": top UN official


13:51, January 31, 2013

UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- The top UN political official on Wednesday said that Somalia is entering a new chapter in its history by beginning what he said "profound transformation" and reiterated the world body's commitment to support efforts to build lasting peace in the Horn of Africa country.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman made the statement during a visit to the capital, Mogadishu, Eduardo del Buey, the deputy UN spokesman, said at a daily news briefing here.

"Somalia is beginning to undergo profound transformation," Feltman said. "The United Nations will continue to assist however possible at this critical time."

After decades of factional fighting and lawlessness, Somalia has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with a series of landmark steps last year that have helped to bring an end to its nine-year political transition period.

These steps included the adoption of a Provisional Constitution, the establishment of a new Parliament and the appointments of a new President and a new Prime Minister.

During his visit, Feltman met with senior Somali government officials, including Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, and the Speaker of the Somali Parliament, Mohamed Osman Jawari, del Buey said.

"Feltman also met with members of the United Nations Country Team and United Nations staff serving in Mogadishu," he said.

"I was inspired and encouraged by what I heard today from the Somali authorities," Feltman said. "This is a government which has both vision and a practical plan to implement it. They have truly taken ownership of the process and our role is to do our utmost to support the Somali authorities, across the board and without hesitation."

Earlier this week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who was in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, for an African Union Summit, announced there that "he would be proposing to the Security Council the establishment of a new UN peace-building presence in Somalia, as part of the effort to strengthen the UN-African Union partnership on the ground," said del Buey.

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