Concern over Somalia situation; blockage of insurgents favoured

May 22nd, 2009 - 5:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Addis Ababa, May 22 (IANS) While the African Union has expressed concern over the situation in Somalia, a group of East African nations have called on the United Nations to start air and sea blockade of the Islamist insurgents in the country.
The six-nation Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) held an extraordinary meeting in Addis Ababa May 20, chaired by Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin. It was also attended by the AU chairperson Jean Ping.

A statement released after the meeting called upon the UN Security Council to enforce a no-fly zone over the insurgency affected regions of Somalia, as well as blockade of sea ports to stem the “further in-flow of arms and foreign fighters”.

The IGAD statement also condemned the Eritrean government for calling for the overthrow of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government and attacking the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), describing them as “acts of aggression against a sovereign country and legitimate government and forces”.

It called on the UNSC to impose sanctions on Eritrea “without any delay”.

Expressing “deep concern” at the situation, African Union chairperson Jean Ping condemned the aggression perpetrated against the Transitional Federal Government and its institutions, as well as the civilian population by those armed groups.

He expressed concern at the increasingly precarious humanitarian situation which has led to the displacement of thousands of persons in the last few days, according to a released statement.

The statement said the chairperson has also reiterated the support and commitment of the African Union to the TFG.

He also expressed confidence that the continued attacks on the government would be rejected as an attempt to unconstitutionally change the government, the statement said.

The statement said any move that derails the TFG would be sanctioned by Africa and the international community.

Welcoming the recent commitment by the international community to assist Somalia, the chairperson urged all Somalis to refrain from using violence, the statement added.

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