SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES OPENING OF SOMALI
NEW YORK, 15 October (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General welcomes the opening of the Somali National Reconciliation Conference in Eldoret, Kenya, on 15 October under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). He calls on all Somali parties and leaders to cooperate in this regional endeavour aimed at ending a decade of conflict in the country and immense suffering to its people.
The Secretary-General commends the Government of Kenya for undertaking the lead role on behalf of the IGAD countries and for its perseverance in efforts to bring the Somali parties to the negotiating table. He expresses his appreciation also for the efforts made by the IGAD countries to bring about a coherent regional approach towards national reconciliation in Somalia.
The Secretary-General would like to underline that no amount of goodwill, support and assistance on the part of IGAD or the international community can bring about peace in Somalia. Only Somalia’s leaders can decide to end the suffering of their people and only they can decide to negotiate an end to the conflict. They need to rise above their differences and put the interests of the people of Somalia first and foremost.
The United Nations and its agencies and programmes are prepared to provide increased humanitarian and development assistance if Somali parties and leaders cooperate in ensuring access to those in need and safety to humanitarian workers in the country. The United Nations will do all it can to help the people of Somalia heal the wounds of conflict, including through the deployment of a post-conflict peace-building mission when security conditions permit.
The Secretary-General has asked his Special Adviser, Mohamed Sahnoun, to represent him at the Eldoret Conference together with his Representative for Somalia, Winston Tubman.
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