UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, on Wednesday (January 30th) said "Somalia is beginning to undergo profound transformation". It is, he added, a new chapter in its history.
The official made the statement during a visit to Mogadishu where he met with senior Government officials, including Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, the Speaker of the Somali Parliament, Mohamed Osman Jawari, and members of the UN country team and UN staff serving in Mogadishu. During his visit, Mr. Feltman expressed the United Nations readiness to "continue to assist however possible at this critical time".
He said he was inspired and encouraged by the program being organized by the Somali Government which "has both vision and a practical plan to implement it". He said the Somali authorities "have truly taken ownership of the process" and noted that the role of partners including the UN is to do "utmost to support the Somali authorities, across the board and without hesitation". Mr. Feltman encouraged the Somali authorities to continue with dialogue and reconciliation.
He pointed out the importance for the Somali Government to take necessary measures to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights including sexual violence against women. His discussions also focused on the future of the UN presence in Somalia and the need for a better coordinated and coherent approach by the international community to support the new phase of peace-building.
Mr. Feltman's visit follows the announcement by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa at the weekend that he would be proposing to the Security Council the establishment of a new UN peace-building presence in Somalia, as part of the efforts to strengthen the UN-AU partnership on the ground.