Monday, January 9, 2012

UAE to Host Somalia Conference in February

Xinhua       Web Editor: Zhangxu
Monday, January 09, 2012

The United Arab Emirates will host an experts meeting in February aimed at seeking a local solution to Somalia's instability, Kenya's ministry of foreign official said on Saturday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Second Counselor in the Horn of Africa Division, Anthony Safari, told journalists in Nairobi that the one-day technical conference will target all relevant stakeholders in order to find lasting peace in Somalia.

"The UAE sponsored conference will take into account the needs of local Somalis as part of plans to bring normalcy, especially in regions liberated from the Al-Shabaab militant group," he said.

"The resolutions will be forwarded to the Somali Conference to be held in late February in London," Safari said.

"The world has realized that an unstable Somalia poses a great danger not only to local citizens but also to its neighbors and the rest of the Horn of Africa," the ministry official said.

He added that Kenya assumed the seat to chair the African Union Peace and Security Council in January this year. "We will use the position to further lead and guide the debate in order to consolidate peace in Somalia," he added.

Safari said that Kenya is waiting for a definite decision on whether or not to be allowed to join the Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISON) in January.

The remarks come as the African Union on Thursday asked the United Nations to authorize an increase of its peacekeeping force in war-torn Somalia by 5,700 to 17,700 amid mounting attacks by the rebels.

Monica Juma, Kenya's ambassador to the UN, made the announcement. The African force, called AMISOM, has been functioning under UN mandate since 2007 in the lawless Horn of Africa nation.

"The highlights were: the need to increase the AMISOM troops from 12,000 to 17,700, the need to fast track the creation of an administrative unit in the liberated areas,"Juma said, after presiding over a meeting of the AU's Peace and Security Council in the Ethiopian capital.

The AMISOM currently comprises Djiboutian, Ugandan and Burundian soldiers, who have been deployed since 2007 to protect the Western-backed government from the Al-Shabaab in the war- shattered capital.

Kenya sent troops into southern Somalia mid October last year to fight the Al-Shabaab militia which Nairobi blames for a series of cross-border attacks and kidnappings of foreigners.

Somalia has been ravaged by a nearly uninterrupted civil war since the 1991 ouster of president Siad Barre sparked vicious bloodletting by rival militias fighting for power.

Source: Xinhua

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