Saturday, September 10, 2011

US Welcomes Signing of Somalia Political 'Roadmap'


US welcomes signing of Somali political 'roadmap'

Sep 9, 2011 - 8:57:04 AM

The United States welcomed Thursday the signing of a "roadmap" for the formation of a Somali government to replace the transitional body that has failed to bring peace to the fragmented country.

Somalia's disparate leaders signed the agreement Tuesday in Mogadishu after three days of talks at a heavily-guarded conference venue.

"The United States welcomes the adoption by key Somali leaders of the roadmap for ending the transition in Somalia," the State Department said.

"We will closely monitor progress and hold Somali officials accountable for meeting these benchmarks and will continue our support for efforts to achieve the goals of the roadmap and bring stability to Somalia," it said.

It also urged Somalia's Transitional Federal Government to take advantage of improved security condition "to make significant progress in the political realm."

"The terrible suffering of the Somali people, particularly during the current famine, underscores that the signatories to the roadmap must make rapid progress toward a representative and effective government that can meet the basic needs of all Somalis," it said.

Hundreds of people are believed to be dying each day from famine exacerbated by conflict, with three-quarters of a million Somalis facing death by starvation, many of them children, the UN said on Monday.

Somalia's prime minister, as well as representatives of the breakaway Puntland region, the central Galmudug region and the pro-government militia Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa, signed the deal under UN auspices.

The agreement is the latest among more than a dozen attempts to resolve Somalia's more than two decade-old civil war, with the country split between rival factions and host to pirate gangs who hijack ships far across the Indian Ocean.

Constant political wrangles and a bloody Islamist insurgency have undermined Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which has been unable to carry out its key mandate of reconciling the country, writing a new constitution and organizing elections.

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