Nations plan to help Somalia's fledgling government rebuild
has been put on hold because of security concerns, a senior
U.N. official said.
U.N. employees were kidnapped in Mogadishu in March, and the
agency has decided a peace-building mission to the Somali
capital will be postponed until the safety of the war-ravaged
city improves, said David Stephen, the U.N. representative
hostage-taking in March was a big problem to the peace process
and was seen in many quarters as proof that Mogadishu was
not safe,'' Stephen said. The Nairobi-based U.N. political
office for Somalia had begun drawing up the peace-building
plan in January. A draft was to have been delivered to by
the end of April, but the kidnapping halted the process, Stephen
told The Associated Press Monday.
were released unharmed by their captors, who oppose the government.
However, the United Nations is no longer sending international
staff to the capital, pockets of which are controlled by faction
plan was likely to have involved financial and technical support
for the government of President Abdiqasim Salad Hassan. Significantly,
it would also have involved stationing international U.N.
staff in Mogadishu for the first time since a failed U.N.
peacekeeping mission pulled out in 1995.
observers have said the government has not lived up to expectations
after it was elected at a peace conference in neighboring
Djibouti last August. ``There is certainly a feeling that
there has not been too much progress, but on the other side,
the international community ... largely took an attitude of
wait and see,'' said Francesco Sciortino, Italy's special
envoy to Somalia. ``We were perhaps expecting a bit too much
progress from a new government in an extremely difficult situation
without money and without infrastructure.''
factional leaders ousted President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991,
then turned on each other, the eastern African nation had
not had a central authority controlling the entire country.
Many clan-based faction leaders oppose the new government,
and the administration has little influence outside the capital.
has set up its own security forces but has tried to avoid
confronting the faction leaders for fear of creating more
clan warfare, diplomats have said.