UNITED NATIONS, March 1 (UPI) -- A senior U.N. official says Somalia is at a "turning point" with the population buoyed by a new government.
U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Eric Laroche Thursday told reporters at U.N. World Headquarters in New York he hopes the trouble-plagued country will take advantage of the opportunity to return to peace and stability.
It has had no functioning government since the regime of Muhammad Siad Barre was toppled in 1991.
Since the Ethiopian-backed Transitional Federal Government routed the Union of the Islamic Courts almost three months ago, "the federal government has a roadmap," the official said. "They know what to do."
The people, he said, can be reassured of the viability of newly-built institutions and the accountability of officials. The government "can be judged" by the people for their performance, and even if those running institutions are replaced, the institutions will remain intact.
That meant, Laroche said, stabilization should be a ground-up process beginning at the community level and extending all the way up to the national level.
"If you don't have a boss, no one is going to solve your problem," he said, citing the importance of the new system of electing district level officials, which he hopes will ensure stability.