Somalia moves towards stability after decades of civil conflict

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Somalia’s interim government was projecting an
international image on Tuesday, amid reports that Mogadishu had
applied to join the East African Community and an international
airline announced regular flights.

The Turkish Airlines announced twice a week flights into Mogadishu and
President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, usually confined to the Villa Somalia,
his official address, has been seen walking into the streets for the
first time since assuming power.

In Mogadishu, public beaches are open for recreation facilities and
international visitors, including the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip
Erdogan and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, have stepped into
Mogadishu in recent months.

Despite the growing hostility against journalists, Somalia appeared to
turn a new corner with the latest victory against the Al Shabaab in
the outskirts of the capital, a big blow to the militants plan to
return to the capital, after their flight last August.

The latest security gains in Somalia have been long in coming, but
with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) celebrating its
fifth year inside Somalia, there were more reasons to be optimistic
about Somalia’s political future.

Kenya and Djibouti, the latest entrants to the peacekeeping efforts in
Somalia, were gearing to sign an agreement with the AU, to contribute
troops to Southern Somalia.

The East African Chiefs of Defence are set to meet later this week, to
discuss troop deployments into Somalia.

Kenyan troops, deployed into Somalia, since 16 October after a series
kidnappings in Kenya’s tourist havens, have vowed to remain in their
current areas of deployment.

The Kenyan troops have cleared an area of 860 km along the common
border with Somalia and moved to occupy 96,000 km square territory, a
sixth of Somalia.

Internationally, the holding of the London international conference on
Somalia’s piracy and peace, has created more hope of a more intense
international engagement.

Somalia’s political groups recently agreed on a future power sharing
structure and the country will avoid a direct election once more this
August, due to fears the unstable security situation would have
been unsuitable for active political campaigns.

The AU recalled deploying the first batch of Ugandan and
Burundian troops five years ago into what was then the world’s most
dangerous war zone.

“There was considerable skepticism about the ability of our troops,”
the AU said in a statement Tuesday, marking the fifth anniversary of
the peacekeeping operation.

“Now, no one is in doubt that the dedication and sacrifice of AMISOM
has brought tremendous success for Somalia and Somalis,” the AU
statement noted.
-0- PANA AO/MA 6March2012

06 mars 2012 20:52:55

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