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Op/Ed: U.N. efforts have failed in Somalia

A Plan for Peace in Somalia

By Prof. Ali M. Mohamed Aden

As the director of the Centre for Democracy and Political Reconciliation in Somalia, I am here to propose an alternative peace initiative that will end the long and difficult Somali conflict.

CDPRS is poised to assist United Nations, European Union and the United States in the reconciliation process to bring peace, to re-institute Somali constitution and to rebuild the Somali Republic.

The United Nation’s policy on Somalia has failed. It did not bring peace—on the contrary, it has brought more chaos. The U.N.-supported transitional government (TG), which was based outside, has also failed to govern and bring peace. The TG has become part of the problem: it is now seen by the majority of Somali people as one of the warring factions.

We have widespread civil war in every region of the country, even the regions U.N. claims has relative peace. About 2.5 million Somalis are at risk of mass starvation, and food-aid corridors are closing fast because of these wars. All major non-governmental organizations pulled out of the country and have closed their relief operations. The suffering of the Somali people who are caught in between warring factions is unbearable.

CDPRS believes there needs be a fundamental change in the way we approach peace in Somalia. Had the U.N. listened to the resolution created by the 1992 CDPRS peace summit in Virginia, where we assembled Somali clan elders and religious leaders, there would have been no Black Hawk Down incident, nor the recent killing of four innocent Americans by pirates.

Everything we had feared back then has occurred. But at CDPRS we still believe that peace can be achieved because we know that 99 percent of the Somali people want peace and justice. It is evident that the U.N.’s failed policies cannot be maintained, nor can we pretend Somali issues and problems can be contained using force.

Here is our plan:

1. CDPRS will organize a peace conference in Mogadishu, Somalia to assemble the marginalized clan elders and religious leaders to create a framework to initiate reconciliation initiatives for ending this long and difficult conflict and to form a credible transitional government that can prepare Somali people for a general election based on our original constitution. A summit held in the U.S. may precede this conference.

2. At CDPRS, the most influential and most powerful clan elders will be given the opportunity to reconcile their differences among themselves in good faith, based on a broader political platform (including extremist elements) under inclusive political process with no foreign influence. We make this a Somali-led and -owned effort.

3. We are asking the U.N. to dissolve its transitional government (the barrier to peace), as it has neither the legitimacy nor the support of the Somali people, and replace it with a Somali-owned transitional government based on the Somali constitution, which we are proposing.

4. We are asking the U.N. to stop taking sides and endorse our peace initiative now.

5. We are asking U.N. to relocate immediately and unconditionally its entire Somali Program offices operating from outside Somalia, frontline states in particular, to Mogadishu, Somalia.

6. We call on all people of Maine and all over America to assist us in our effort to bring peace to Somalia and return Somalia to a democracy.

Prof. Ali M. Mohamed Aden is the director of CDPRS. For more information, see http://cdprs.org.

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