New York, May 25 2012 1:10PM
Leaders in Somalia have agreed to set up a Constituent Assembly that will adopt the East African nation's new constitution in line with an existing roadmap to end the current transitional governing arrangement by an upcoming deadline, the United Nations envoy for the country <"http://unpos.unmissions.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=hh3N5W1rvHM%3d&tabid=9705&mid=12667&language=en-US">said today.
At a three-day consultative meeting that ended on Wednesday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, signatories to the so-called <em>Roadmap for the End of Transition in Somalia</em> agreed that elders will select the delegates to the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) no later than 20 June, the Secretary-General's Special Representative and head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), Augustine Mahiga, told a news conference in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, today.
"These meetings [in Addis Ababa] of the principals were dynamic and sometimes contentious. But most importantly, they were ultimately successful," said Mr. Mahiga.
After decades of warfare, Somalia has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with the country's Transitional Federal Institutions currently implementing the roadmap, devised in September last year, that spells out priority measures to be carried out before the current transitional governing arrangements end on 20 August.
The NCA will convene on 2 July to adopt the new provisional constitution by 10 July. Members of parliament will be selected by 15 July by the elders, who will be assisted in the process by a Technical Selection Committee to ensure that the nominees meet the criteria set out in an earlier agreement.
In his remarks to the media, Mr. Mahiga noted that key decisions made during the meetings included the expansion of the Technical Selection Committee, which will now be broadened to ensure representation of Somalia's various clans and international observers.
"There is a real spirit of camaraderie and a drive for progress amongst the signatories of the Roadmap," said Mr. Mahiga. "The process is moving forward and the Somali leadership is committed to meeting the challenging, but achievable, timetable. It is critical that all parties, including the international community, now pull together to support this process."
Agreements reached in Addis Ababa removed procedural obstacles to the implementation of the roadmap, the envoy said, while noting the limited time-frame
"Somalia is less than ninety days away from the most momentous event in its recent history. We have no time to lose," he said. "There is not a moment to spare as Somalia and its partners get down to work and ensure this process is participatory, legitimate, inclusive, transparent and, above all, Somali-owned," he said.
A communiqué issued in Addis Ababa at the end of the meetings also recommended that the President of the Transitional Federal Government issue a presidential decree to convene the NCA. The decree will also enable the constitutional-making process to proceed towards the adoption stage and allow the formation of the National Security and Stabilization Plan, which is intended to lay the foundation for the development of the Somali justice and security sector.
Ahmed Hassan Arwo