U.N. bound to Somalia, Ban Ki-moon says

Sept. 17, 2013 at 10:27 AM
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BRUSSELS, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- The international community stands by Somalia is it charts its future political path, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

More than 200 delegates took part in a one-day summit in Brussels supported by the European Union and the government of Somalia.

Dubbed the "New Deal for Somalia," delegates to the summit pledged their support as Somalia focuses its development agenda on consolidating political gains made since forming its first functioning central government in more than 20 years last year.

Ban delivered a message to Somali delegates stating the United Nations would continue supporting Somalia's political reforms and national security needs.

"The New Deal is about the people, for the people, and with the people of Somalia," he said in a statement Monday. "Our meeting today is a milestone, the beginning of a new partnership based on mutual commitments and accountability that bind all of us in support of Somalia."

Nicholas Kay, U.N. special envoy for Somalia, told the Security Council last week he was optimistic about Somalia's future. The next few steps, he cautioned, would be "precarious."

The fledgling Somali government is struggling to exert its influence beyond Mogadishu. A fragile security situation is complicated by the presence of al-Shabaab, an affiliate of the terrorist group al-Qaida.

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