19 December 2012

Somalia President Announces AU's Plan to Open Office in Mogadishu

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud has welcomed (Tuesday, December 18th) the African Union's announcement of its plan to open an office in Mogadishu following the improvements in the security situation since Islamist rebels were driven out of the city by AMISOM and Somali National forces last year.

The President described the AU's decision as "an important step for the development and improvement of Somalia". He urged other international organizations "to open their offices in Somalia". The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on Somalia, Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif, confirmed the AU's plan to relocate its Somalia office from Nairobi to Mogadishu on a visit to the Somali capital. The Special

Representative held talks with President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud and Deputy Prime Minister Fouzia Adam, and with senior AMISOM military, police and civilian staff. Ambassador Annadif also met with the UN's special envoy to Somalia, Ambassador Mahiga, with the head of the League of Arab States mission in Somalia, Ambassador Mohamed Abdalla Idris, and with a representative of Sudanese embassy in Somalia. Following his discussions with President Mahmoud, Ambassador Annadif said that AMISOM has played a crucial role in helping Somalia "overcome decades of strife" and expressed AMISOM's commitment to continue its support to the Somali people "as they move towards a new era of peace and stability".

He assured the Somali President of continued support from the AU and AMISOM "for the stabilization efforts of his government". Ambassador Annadif visited AU's newly built Somali Mission Headquarters, where he himself will be based, as well as the AMISOM Level II Hospital and Out-Patient Department. He said he would be deploying to Mogadishu "on a more permanent basis in the coming weeks".

This is the second visit Ambassador Annadif has made to Mogadishu in the last month. The United Nations Political Office for Somalia moved its office and its top-ranking officials, including Special Envoy Mahiga, to Mogadishu in January.

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