Somalia

Annan calls on Somali factions to end hostilities, recommit to peace

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United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a report issued today, calls on Somalia's faction-ridden leaders to cease "serious hostilities" and urges international donors to contribute generously and speedily to humanitarian and peace-building programmes there.
"It is those that have the weapons of war who continue to hold the people of Somalia hostage to the cycle of violence," the Secretary-General says in a report to the UN Security Council, noting that individual faction rivalries and criminal activity rather than wider issues are behind the violence. "The Somali people and the international community will no doubt hold them accountable for their actions if they persist on the path of confrontation and conflict."

Calling on Somali leaders who participated in last year's national reconciliation conference in Eldoret, Kenya, to rededicate themselves to the search for peace, Mr. Annan says that since then, serious hostilities have occurred involving the militias and supporters of some of the very leaders who signed the Eldoret Declaration and the December agreements.

He notes that hostilities have blocked airports and seaports, seriously affecting the delivery of essential humanitarian and development assistance and urges Somali leaders "to live up to their commitments to assure the delivery of much-needed humanitarian assistance and the safety of all international and national aid workers."

Welcoming contributions by Ireland, Italy and Norway to the Trust Fund for Peace-Building in Somalia and the early contributions of Canada, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland and the European Community to the 2003 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Somalia, Mr. Annan calls on other donors "not only to contribute generously to the appeal, but also to do so without delay so as to allow the effective implementation of a full, coherent and balanced humanitarian and peace-building programme."

The Secretary-General also notes that while some parts of Somalia remain unstable, relative stability continues to prevail in significant portions of the country where community-based peace-building activities have evolved with little outside support.

"These initiatives present windows of opportunity for the United Nations, non-governmental organizations and donors to help to maintain and build upon the peace and stability that has been achieved," he says. "Failure to do so, however, could result in renewed conflict over scarce resources as an impoverished people, including increasing numbers of returnees from exile, are struggling to survive and rebuild their lives."