Ban welcomes Somalia govt deal
New York – The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday invited Somalia's leaders to engage in "full and timely implementation" of a weekend deal on the future government of the war-ravaged country.
Somalia's president, the presidents of the breakaway Puntland and Galmudug regions, and the commander of the powerful anti-Shabaab militia Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa signed the deal on Saturday under the UN auspices.
The accord signed in the northern town of Garowe proposes a parliamentary system for anarchic Somalia to replace the country's fragile transitional body, with both Puntland and Galmudug recognized as states within a federal system.
"The secretary general applauds the spirit of unity and commitment demonstrated by the Roadmap signatories," the United Nations said in a statement.
Ban "particularly welcomes the inclusion of a minimum of 30% women in the Independent Electoral Commission, the Constituent Assembly and the new Federal Parliament," the statement said.
"The secretary general looks forward to full and timely implementation of the commitments made. The United Nations stands ready to provide comprehensive support for their implementation," it said.
Ban "looks forward to discussing how the international community can support these agreements at the London Conference on Somalia next week," it added.
The agreement is the latest among more than a dozen attempts to resolve Somalia's more than two decade-old civil war, with the country split between rival factions and pirate gangs who hijack ships far across the Indian Ocean.
Al-Qaeda allied Shabaab fighters, who control large parts of central and southern Somalia, where they are battling African Union-backed government forces as well as Kenyan and Ethiopian troops, immediately condemned the deal.
"The agreement is treason because it is part of a master plan of the international community to send Somalia back to colonisation," Shabaab spokesperson Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage told reporters.
Somalia has been without an effective central government since 1991, and the leadership in the capital Mogadishu is propped up by a 10 000-strong AU force from Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti.