UN envoy warns against too many initiatives for dealing with Somalia

David Stephen, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Representative and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia, told the Council that contrary to the cliché of “divide and rule,” in Somalia there was a situation of “divide upwards” – in other words, divide and no rule. Different leaders travelled outside the country seeking support and claiming to be the true representatives of the Somali people.In fact, Mr. Stephen said, the Secretary-General’s recent report contained ideas for how to deal with the situation in the country, including the establishment of a Committee of Friends of Somalia.The Committee, as described in the report, could bring together interested countries and organizations in the search for a lasting peace, and to help mobilize funds for rehabilitation and development.Mr. Stephen said it had been 10 years since the fall of the Barré regime, and still there were no national institutions of any description. The main focus of loyalty for many Somalis remained the clan.The talk now was not of a ceasefire, he added, but of helping the Somalis to devise institutions that would rise above those of the clan. The clan situation might seem complicated, but the crucial question was to find a role for all clans in the future structure of Somalia.Restoration of trust was the critical element, Mr. Stephen emphasized in his statement. The Transitional Government was what its name implied – a transition to a permanent government. It was a start on which the future could be based. However, suspicion between the clans and past bad experience with government had not left them with a negative notion of government. According to the Arta Charter, the future structure of Somalia should be a federation. Prior to Mr. Stephen’s presentation, the Prime Minister of the Transitional National Government of Somalia, Ali Khalif Galaydh, addressed the Council, with representatives of more than 20 countries taking part in the daylong debate.

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