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UN launches new mission in Somalia


09:05, June 04, 2013

MOGADISHU, June 3 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) is launched on Sunday after the arrival of UN envoy Nicholas Kay in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

The new UN Somalia office replaces the previous UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) with a new mandate "to support state building and peace building."

Kay, the new special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG), said upon his arrival in Mogadishu he was pleased to work with the people and government of Somalia.

"I am very pleased to be in Mogadishu and to have this opportunity to support the Federal Government and people of Somalia to bring peace, security and prosperity back to Somalia," Kay said.

Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon welcomed the launch of the UN Somalia office as a "vote of confidence in the new Somalia. "

The new UN envoy to Somalia met with Prime Minister Shirdon, who congratulated Kay on his "new appointment and the UN on launching the new mission with a new mandate."

"The UN has voted with its feet and come to establish its new Somalia headquarters in the Somali capital. This is just as it should be. You have shown the world that to engage with Somalia it is possible -- and indeed necessary -- to come to Somalia," the Somali prime minister said.

Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia Mahamat Saleh Annadif, for his part, welcomed the arrival of Kay and the opening of the new UN mission for Somalia.

"I wish to affirm my support as Head of AMISOM to the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to ensure that the people of Somalia realize their dream of a peaceful and stable country," Annadif said.

Kay, a British national, will take over from the Tanzanian, Augustine Mahiga, who headed the UNPOS. According to the mission website, Kay served as Africa director at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office until 2012.

The new UN envoy for Somalia served as ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo between 2007 and 2010 and to Sudan from 2010 to 2012.

The new UN mission will be headquartered in Mogadishu with offices in Hargeisa and Garowe in the north of the Horn of Africa country and plans to open further central Somalia towns of BeLedweyne and Baidoa.

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