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Security Council to Assess Somalia Mission

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Augustine Mahiga, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Somalia and head of the U.N. Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS), looks on during a news conference in Mogadishu August 19, 2012, in this photograph released by the African Union

The U.N. Security Council is preparing to consider a report on Somalia from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that includes options and recommendations for a future U.N. role in the country.

U.N. special envoy to Somalia Augustine Philip Mahiga says a Security Council meeting on the recommendations will take place within the coming week.

In a VOA interview, Mahiga said the U.N. intends to adjust to what he called the "new realities" in Somalia. "In the new reality now, the United Nations has to stand beside and behind the government and to mobilize international resources and support and use its good offices to facilitate the objectives of the government," he said.

In late January, a top U.N. official said Somalia is beginning to undergo a "profound transformation."  During a visit to Mogadishu, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman praised the government its peace and reconciliation efforts.

Somalia went for more than 20 years without a stable central government until U.N.-backed efforts to form a new government succeeded last year.

Within the past year, the country has approved a new constitution, selected a new parliament as well as a president and prime minister.

Mahiga says the U.N. will seek strategies to help maintain peace. "The secretary general has stated that peace-building will now be the flagship strategy to spearhead the transformation of Somalia," he said.

Somalia's security has improved significantly over the past year. Working with Kenya and Ethiopia, the African Union peacekeeping force, AMISOM, was able to drive al-Shabab militants out of their strongholds in Mogadishu and south-central Somalia.

However, the militant group has continued to launch sporadic attacks.


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