UNSC strongly condemns militants' attacks in Somalia

New York, Apr 16 : Condemning "in the strongest possible terms" Sunday's deadly attack by Islamist militants in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Monday reaffirmed its determination to combat all forms of terrorism.

"As Somalia continues to progress towards greater peace and stability, it is deplorable that ordinary Somalis, and members of the international community supporting that progress, have been targeted by those who seek to prevent peace," the Council said of the attack in which dozens of civilians were reported to have been killed or injured, including women and children, and for which the Islamist armed group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility.

"The members of the Security Council reaffirm that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed," it added in a press statement.

Also condemning the attacks on a court house and near Mogadishu International Airport as "brazen acts of terrorism," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced confidence that "such appalling acts will not derail the determination of the Somali people to achieve peace and security" in a country that has been torn asunder by factional fighting since 1991 but which has recently made progress towards stability

In 2011, Somali forces and troops of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) expelled Al-Shabaab from Mogadishu. Since then, new Government institutions have been appointed on the road to ending a transitional phase and setting up a permanent, democratically-elected Government.

In August 2012, the first formal parliament was sworn in and steady steps have been taken to consolidate peace in the country. In March 2013, the Security Council extended the mandate of AMISOM for another year and partially lifted the 20-year-old arms embargo imposed on the country to boost the Government's capacity to protect areas recovered from the militant group Al-Shabaab and defend against fresh attempts by such groups to destabilize the country.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Ban expressed his condolences to the families of those killed and paid tribute to AMISOM and Somali security forces, "whose courage and determination helped to bring the situation back under control."

In its statement, the Council reaffirmed its resolve to support the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia. At present the UN has a political office in the Horn of Africa country, the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) and the UN Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA).

Discussions are also under way on a revised UN presence in Somalia to support the recent political gains and to address the urgent ongoing humanitarian and human rights situations. The new mission would include good offices, advice and assistance on security, peacekeeping and state-building, the preparation of elections, human rights and the rule of law, and assistance for the coordination of international assistance.

--IBNS (Posted on 16-04-2013)

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