Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - The African Union (AU) Wednesday called on the international community to urgently take the required steps to build on the recent repulsion of Al-Shabab elements out of the Somali capital and provide badly needed humanitarian assistance there.
In a statement issued in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, AU described the withdrawal of the Al-Shabab as "an achievement" upon which the people would work to "bring about the peace and stability which have eluded the Somalis for over two decades."
Chairman of the AU Commission Jean Ping was quoted in the statement as saying he has been closely following the recent developments in Mogadishu, in particular the withdrawal from the capital city by the Al-Shabab elements.
"This development marks a significant step in the efforts being deployed to secure Mogadishu, extend the authority of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and create conditions conducive for the pursuit and deepening of the national reconciliation process. It will also create further room for the delivery of the much-needed humanitarian assistance to the populations affected by the current drought and famine," the statement said.
It noted that over the past weeks, dozens of thousands of Somalis have been fleeing to Mogadishu to take advantage of the relative security prevailing in the city and to get access to relief supplies.
The statement said Ping paid tribute to the AMISOM and TFG forces for their commitment and courage in dealing with Al-Shabab and, ultimately, forcing it to pull out of Mogadishu.
According to the statement, the AUC chairman has encouraged these forces "to pursue and intensify their efforts and, in so doing, to ensure that the sacrifices made by AMISOM soldiers who fell in the line of duty are not in vain. He calls on the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) to fully exploit this opportunity to strengthen the reconciliation and outreach efforts to improve service delivery and accelerate the implementation of the transitional tasks, in line with the Kampala Accord of 9 June, 2011."
Mr. Ping also said the successes achieved since the offensive launched by AMISOM and TFG forces last February were clear demonstration that defeating the extremist elements holding the Somali people to ransom was within reach.
"At a time when the Somali people are experiencing the worst drought in recent memory, with famine further compounding their suffering, the international community ought to urgently take the required steps to build on this achievement in order to help bring about the peace and stability which have eluded the Somalis for over two decades," the AU said.
The statement stressed that AU, notably through AMISOM, "will remain steadfast in its determination and will continue to provide all the support it can to TFG in its efforts to extend its authority, defeat the extremists and further national reconciliation.
"Against this background, the Chairperson of the Commission, while expressing appreciation for the support received so far, calls on AU partners, in particular the United Nations, to take further steps to expand the support package being rendered to AMISOM, in line with the requests contained in the communiqué of the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of 15 October, 2010.
"Such an expansion will go a long way in enhancing the effectiveness of the mission and enabling it to fully implement its mandate," the statement stressed.
-0- PANA MO/BOS 10Aug2011