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UN Council backs new Somali government

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The UN Security Council on Tuesday hailed the election of Somalia's new president a "milestone" for the conflict-stricken state, but called for a clampdown on corruption and a tougher campaign against Islamist militants.

The 15-nation council gave its seal of approval to the new government in a unanimously approved resolution which diplomats said was intended to encourage and cajole President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to quickly establish his authority.

The resolution reaffirmed the council's "willingness to take measures against individuals whose acts threaten the peace, stability or security of Somalia."

Mohamud has only been in office for eight days. In that time he has already survived an assassination bid while Somali and African troops are now closing on the last major bastion of Shebab militants who once controlled the capital.

African Union troops have been propping up UN-backed interim governments for eight years.

But the council's Resolution 2067 said the election of Mohamud and a parliamentary speaker represented "the completion of the transition in Somalia and an important milestone in Somalia's path to more stable and accountable governance."

The council said Mohamud should "expeditiously" name a prime minister to spread central authority in a country which has had no effective government since the fall of dictator Siad Barre in 1991.

The Security Council also expressed concern at "worrying reports of financial misappropriation" and called for "high standards in financial management" by the new government.

A report by UN sanctions committee experts said in July that 70 percent of state revenues were stolen or squandered and that the former president and speaker of the transitional government were involved in the scandal.

A special Joint Financial Management Board, with international involvement, is to be set up to monitor government spending, which relies on international aid.

The Security Council also welcomed a reduction in the number of successful piracy attacks off the Somali coast but warned the "gains are potentially reversible."

A UN summit on Somalia is to be held on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly in New York next week when Mohamud will make his first international appearance.

Mark Lyall Grant, UN envoy for Britain which has taken a central role in international efforts to support Somalia's interim administration, said the council resolution was "a strong message endorsing the transition in Somalia."

He said the new government "must do more on human rights, rule of law, tackling corruption and improving financial transparency." But Lyall Grant said "Somalia now has a real opportunity to progress toward a more peaceful future."

Somalia's UN envoy Elmi Ahmed Duale said the resolution was a "landmark" for his country after two decades plunging toward failed state status.

Now starts "the real fight for a real nation to come from the ruins of destruction," the envoy told the Security Council.



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