Kenya: Ban hails Somalia's progress towards stability

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Somalia has made “remarkable progress” as it continues down the road towards economic and political stability, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said Wednesday in Mogadishu.

Mogadishu was the third stop for the UN chief in a tour of the Horn of Africa aimed at promoting development and consolidating peace and security across the wider region, the UN said in a press statement.

Speaking to reporters as he touched down in the city, Ban acknowledged that after two decades of internecine conflict and humanitarian crises, Somalia was finally waking from a long nightmare, reaching a pivotal moment as militant group Al-Shabaab appeared to be on the wane.

He said Somalia was on the right path as political progress had finally seemed to take root as the country’s institutions were steadily strengthened.

“Politically, this country is coming together like never before,” he told the press. “I especially commend the agreements to form regional administrations. These bodies must be inclusive with strong representation of women and young people.”

The Secretary-General’s remarks came amid a joint trip uniting the capacities of the United Nations, the World Bank, European Union and the Islamic Development Bank,.

The trip is also uniting the capacities of and African Development Bank and targeting a swathe of countries in the Horn of Africa, spanning Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda, with an US$8 billion development initiative.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who is a member of the high-level delegation to the region, noted that Somalia’s transition presented “a unique opportunity” for the nation and the wider Horn of Africa region “to improve the livelihoods of the people by engaging them in productive economic activities.”

“Political stability and human security are important pre-requisites for reducing extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity for the Somali people,” he added.

The high-level visit is coming at a critical time in Somalia’s shift from a country beset by numerous challenges – ranging from humanitarian issues to piracy – to a stable regional player.

Somalia has long been torn by factional fighting and the spread of militant religious fanaticism in the guise of Al-Shabaab.

Recent military gains against the terrorist group have permitted the Federal Government of Somalia, with the assistance of the UN Assistance Mission (UNSOM), to pursue a peace and State building agenda.

The Mission also seeks to strengthen the country's security sector, promote respect for human rights and women's empowerment and assist in the coordination of international assistance.

The Secretary-General commended the Somali National Army and the African Union Mission (AMISOM) forces for their advances against Al-Shabaab and contributions to the overall peace and stability of the country.

But, he warned, it remained “critical that they now secure roads to newly recovered areas to enable commercial traffic and humanitarian access.”

From Somalia, Ban jetted into Nairobi on Wednesday.
-0- PANA DJ/VAO 30Oct2014

30 october 2014 09:03:28

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