New York, US (PANA) - The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General
for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, on Tuesday formally moved his office back to the
country’s capital, Mogadishu, from neighbouring Kenya, where it has been based
for 17 years.
A UN statement made available to PANA in New York, stated that Mahiga, was
received at the airport in Mogadishu by Somalia’s Prime Minister, Abdiweli Mohamed
Ali, other officials and diplomats.
It quoted the envoy as expressing his delight that the UN Political Office for Somalia
(UNPOS) will now carry out its work from Mogadishu.
"I sincerely hope that the arrival of the UN Political Office will mark the start of renewed
hope for the future of Somalia," Mahiga.said.
"Being in Mogadishu will allow us to work far more closely with the Transitional Federal
Institutions, the UN agencies and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) already
based here, civil society and ordinary Somalis. We have much to do and we are eager
to get straight to work,” he said.
It also said that after a ceremony to raise the UN flag at the UNPOS office, Mahiga
proceeded to Villa Somalia where he was welcomed by President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh
Ahmed and presented his credentials.
He then went to the headquarters of the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia
(AMISOM) where he inspected a guard of honour and paid tribute to the remarkable
sacrifice of peacekeepers and the Somali security forces in advancing the cause of peace.
"Without the incredible efforts and sacrifice of the troops from Somalia and other African countries, we would not be here today."
The UN envoy also gave his pledge to the Somali people that the UNPOS relocation to
Mogadishu would herald the beginning of a new era of cooperation and political engagement as the current political transitional period comes to an end later this year.
The statement noted that the last Special Representative of the Secretary-General to be
based in Mogadishu was James Victor Gbeho, who worked with the now defunct UN
Operations in Somalia II (UNOSOM II), and left in early 1995.
UNPOS was established shortly afterwards and has since been based in Nairobi, the
Kenyan capital. Six UN agencies have permanent staff in Mogadishu.
-0- PANA AA/MA 24Jan2012