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Published:June 20th, 2006 23:00 EST
The Somali Situation

The Somali Situation

By Francis Karugah

The U.S assistant secretary of state for African affairs Jendayi Frazer says there is a critical need for dialogue and the international community has been engaged to address the warlord’s issue in Somalia threatening normalcy in the country. He said they had to reserve judgment about the ultimate intent of the Islamic courts union (ICU) which claimed to have taken control of Somalia’s capital following weeks of fighting.  Frazer also said it was important for the transitional federal institution (TFI) [Somalis nominal government] and the chairman of the ICU to begin a dialogue to decide for them what role the ICU would play. Frazer described the TFI the only form of government that can be found in Somalia, which she called a “failed state”. Although indications showed that the ICU was not interested in taking over the government or even being in government.

Interim government

Somalia has lacked an effective central government since early 1991 when largely clan based tribal leaders overthrew President Mohamed, said Barre.  An interim government formed in 2004 with the support of the United Nations, has been unable to enter Mogadishu after leaving their Nairobi base in early 2005.  However, instead has been stuck in Baidoa, about 240 kilometers away. The Somali president sites the presence of U.S backed warlords as the reason for not setting up base in the capital. He said the warlords were being used to help to capture al-Qaeda members in Somalia but, said the U.S was using the wrong way in tracing the members since there were not approaching the government in place, he said in a two-day visit of Stockholm. He added that his government was ready to help in capturing the al-Qaeda members. The U.S has defended itself and said it only sent officials to meet with a wide variety of Somali leaders in an effort to fight international terrorists in the country.

Meanwhile normalcy is returning to Mogadishu after Islamic leaders ousted us backed warlords after weeks of fighting that left many dead and many more injured. The move has given a boost to business in the horn of Africa nation. Mr. Abdulkadir Nur, a Somali businessman said since the warlords left, security has greatly improved and this is good for business, as they are not harassed by the warlords. He also said the waters around Somalia would be safe again since the pirates have retreated because of the army and courts presence.

Somali contact group

In New York, the United States joined with other interested states and international organization in convening the Somali contact group, which aims, to co-ordinate common efforts and support positive developments in Somalia. The group said the situation in Somalia represented a range of challenge related to the humanitarian and social-economic conditions. The contact group said it would seek to address the humanitarian issues of Somali people, establish effective governance and stability.

The group also urged unrestricted access for relief agencies to vulnerable communities. Members of the contact group include the E.U, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Tanzania, the U.K and the U.S. Other interested parties such as the United Nations, the African union, the intergovernmental authority on development (IGAD) and the league of Arab states will be invited to participate as observers. State department spokesman Sean McCormack said the United States was ready to work with all the parties to promote peace and re-establishment of effective governance in Somalia.


Source:  DOS