UN-backed group supports Somali Government’s peace overtures to rivals

Published: April 23, 2010

A United Nations-backed group supporting peace and reconciliation in Somalia today welcomed efforts by the country’s transitional Government to reach out to opposition groups willing to join the peace process.
The International Contact Group on Somalia (ICG) said in a communiqué issued in Cairo that it was particularly encouraged by the signing on 15 March of an agreement between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Ahlu Sunna wal Jama, an opposition faction previously opposed to the transitional authority.
“The ICG recognises this agreement as a possible blue print for future cooperation with other groups and calls for the TFG to intensify its outreach efforts to those committed to peace and stability,” the communiqué noted after the Group’s latest meeting, held under the chairmanship of the UN Special Representative for Somalia Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah.
The ICG stressed that all Somali Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) must be protected and supported and should not be politicised or undermined by activities from within. It called on all elements of the TFIs to end divisions and demonstrate their unity to restore peace and provide support to the population.
The communiqué noted the support of Japan and the European Union (EU) for the reorganization of Somalia’s police force, as well as the launch of a training mission for the security forces by the EU, Uganda and the United States.
It also voiced support for the efforts of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), thanked Uganda and Burundi for continuing to contribute troops and urged other African Union member to provide soldiers to the mission.
The ICG strongly condemned the violent actions of extremists which have led to continued suffering among the civilian population. In addition it condemned attacks on human rights workers, judges, journalists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and called for the respect of human rights by all parties.
The Group denounced continuing acts of piracy off the Somali coast and called for further international cooperation to deter and combat the crime, and to establish job generation projects so that young people do not have to resort to piracy to earn a living.

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