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UN reopens Somalia office after 17 years

The United Nations has reopened a permanent office in the war-scarred capital of Somalia after a 17-year-absence.



Mogadishu: The United Nations has reopened a
permanent office in the war-scarred capital of Somalia after a 17-year-absence.

"Being in Mogadishu will allow us to work far more closely
with the Transitional Federal Institutions, the UN agencies
and NGOs already based here, civil society and ordinary
Somalis," said Augustine Mahiga, the UN representative for
Somalia yesterday.

UN leader Ban Ki-moon announced the global body`s return
to Somalia when he carried out a surprise visit to Mogadishu
in December.

The United Nations and Western nations are trying to help
the weak and divided transitional government establish a
firmer grip on the nation as it battles Islamist militants.

Hundreds of Africa Union peacekeepers in a force defending the government have been killed in recent years in the battle against the Shebab group.
The last permanent UN representative to work in Mogadishu
left in 1995.

Somalia remains one of the world`s most dangerous
countries. The capital has seen an increase in bomb attacks
despite the withdrawal of Islamist militia last August.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said the UN hoped that other agencies and organisations would follow the UN lead however and return to Mogadishu.

"This relocation demonstrates the strong commitment of the
United Nations to work alongside the Somali people and their
leaders to build peace, political stability and a hopeful
future," Nesirky said.

Ban "pays tribute to the efforts and sacrifice of the
Somali people and the African Union Mission in Somalia to make
this relocation possible," the spokesman said.

PTI

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