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Ousted UN envoy: Somalia's politics could beget conflict

Thursday January 3, 2019

FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015, file photo, Nicholas Haysom, then the top UN envoy in Afghanistan, speaks during a press conference in Kabul. Somalia's government on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 ordered Nicholas Haysom, the United Nations envoy to Somalia, to leave amid questions over the arrest of the al-Shabab extremist group's former deputy leader Mukhtar Robow who had run for a regional presidency. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini, File)

A U.N. envoy who was recently ordered to leave Somalia says political tensions could devolve into conflict, while Somalia's U.N. ambassador says his country embraces international institutions but not individual "conduct that has a detrimental effect" on the nation.

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Both addressed the Security Council Thursday.

The envoy, Nicholas Haysom, didn't directly address this week's flap over his questioning of the arrest of an extremist group defector-turned-political candidate.

But Haysom said the deadly protests that followed the arrest do "not bode well" for upcoming elections. He also said "there is a risk that complexity shifts to conflict" in a country trying to rebuild political stability after decades of strife.

Somali Ambassador Abukar Dahir Osman said leaders reject any attempt to rebrand an extremist "as an ice-cream salesperson without redeeming themselves."


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