Leadership void root problem in Somalia

Dec. 31, 2008 at 5:35 PM

MOGADISHU, Somalia, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- The ongoing instability in Somalia is the result of a vacuum of leadership in the country, according to a top United Nations official.

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, U.N. secretary-general special representative to Somalia, said Wednesday the crisis in the country has less to do with the decades of violence and more to do with a lack of political leadership, the United Nations reported.

Somalia, which hasn't had a functioning government since 1991, has drawn increased international attention for the escalation of pirate attacks on ships passing through the Gulf of Aden off the Somali coast. Ould-Abdallah's comments echo a growing chorus of criticism from groups like the Belgium-based International Crisis Group, which point out the root of the security problems are largely the result of the country's ongoing political crisis.

Ould-Abdallah called on leaders in Somalia to establish "accountable and committed national leadership" and continue to work toward the goals of the Djibouti peace process.

"Somalia is entering a new era," Ould-Abdallah said in a statement.

"Catch the train of history and mobilize all efforts to maintain solidarity among all brothers in order to recover the integrity, sovereignty and dignity of Somalia."

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