UN chief warns of power vacuum in transition era

UN chief warns of power vacuum in transition era

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
UN chief warns of power vacuum in transition era

International forces cannot solve Somalia’s problems in the long term and the fragile country needs its own security institutions, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says. AP photo

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday called for urgent international aid for Somalia to head off the risk of warlords exploiting a power vacuum after the scheduled change of power in August.

“I ask you to consider how to contribute long-term, predictable support for Somalia,” Ban said, speaking on the second day of the second Istanbul Conference on Somalia. The international community must help the country build its own security apparatus, establish the rule of law and shed a culture of impunity, Ban said.

Turkey has an impressive record on Somalia, the secretary-general said. “Turkey has built schools, bridges and hospitals in Somalia. It has given hope to the people.”

Noting that the crisis in Somalia was one of the most difficult in the world, Ban said the Istanbul conference was a turning point for the country. The secretary-general also thanked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for making Somalia a priority. Ban said his own visit to Somalia in December 2011 was the first by a U.N secretary-general in 20 years.

The world should consider providing long-term support for Somalia, Ban said. “Somalia should continue its roadmap to end the transition period.”

The new Somali constitution, which has yet to be drafted, will be a historic one, Ban said. The constitution should be shaped by the contribution of opinions by all parties, reflect international standards of human rights, and be offered to all Somalis in an open referendum, he said.

Ban also urged Somalia’s leaders to “keep human rights at the center of the political process,” and stick to their commitments to allot 30 percent of the 225 seats in the new Parliament to women and ensure freedom of expression and the safety of journalists. He cited the shooting death earlier in May of a Somali journalist, the sixth to be slain in the country this year.