Opposition Leader’s Return To Somali Capital Welcome By Top UN Envoy

New York, Dec 10 2008 For over 20 years, Somalia has been plagued by struggle and large scale humanitarian pain. The fighting has flared again this year with more intensity. The most distressful place is capital Mogadishu.

The return of an opposition leader, Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, who took part in reconciliation talks with the strife-torn Horn of Africa nation’s Government, to the capital Mogadishu is an important development took place recently. The United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, characterized the return after a nearly two-year absence of Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, who heads the Alliance of the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), as “a most welcome development.”

Under June’s Djibouti Agreement, the ARS and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) decided to end their conflict and on the UN to deploy an international stabilization force to the troubled nation, which has not had a functioning national government since 1991. Mr. Ould-Abdallah also issued a call for Somalis of all political or other affiliations, during the period of Eid al-Adha to agree on pressing ahead with reconciliation, security, unity and dignity.

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