/ 20 May 2010

Djibouti warns of ‘disintegration’ of Somalia

Djibouti’s President, Ismail Omar Guelleh, warned on Wednesday that Somalia’s Western-backed transitional government may not survive the intensified conflict with armed insurgents.

Guelleh appeared before the United Nations Security Council in New York to plead for action, saying he called for help in October 2008 and could deliver the same speech again now, “given the frozen nature and persistence of the problems facing the region then and today”.

“I cannot see how we can avert the possibility of Somalia’s plunge into an avoidable disintegration,” he said.

Guelleh said the transitional government controls only a few blocks in the capital, Mogadishu, with the help of the UN mission and is “fast shrinking” under the advance of insurgents throughout the country.

He called on the 15-nation council to end its rhetoric and adopt measures to save Mogadishu and its two million inhabitants, who are besieged by armed militias and fanatical gangs. The government has become “irrelevant and inconsequential”, he said.

Guelleh said the collapse of Somalia will affect the Horn of Africa. Other problems include the persistent conflict between Eritrea and its neighbours, including Djibouti.

He charged that Eritrea has continued its aggressive stance against Djibouti since the military clashes between the two countries in 2008.

Guelleh was in New York to attend a council debate on conflicts in Africa. He said armed conflicts remain at the top of Africa’s adversities despite efforts to stop them in the past three decades. — Sapa-dpa