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Finnish envoy says Somali should settle difference through dialogue

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April 12, 2009 (PARIS) ---Finnish envoy for Horn of Africa expressed hopes that all Somali parties can bridges their differences and reach a peaceful solutions to end the anarchy and factional violence in the country since more than eighteen years.

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Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed (R) shakes hand with the Finnish envoy Pekka Haavisto (photo Fiinish govt)

"My highest hope is that different Somali groups can through dialogue find a peaceful settlement, and that Somalia would have a strong government which controls the territory of the country. Only through that the country can be safe for everyone, and social end economical development will take place", said Pekka Haavisto at the end of his visit to Somalia last Friday, April 10.

MP Haavisto, the Finnish Special Envoy for Horn of Africa and Sudan, had a two-day visit to Mogadishu on Thursday and Friday. During the visit Haavisto met with President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke and other members of the government. He also visited the Parliament, and met with the leaders of parliamentary sub-committees.

Also he had meetings with civil society representatives, including the traditional leaders, representatives of business community, women organizations and various civil society groups.

"The willingness of government to talk to all parties in Somalia is important. In my mind nobody should be left out from the peace process, but all Somalis have the responsibility to solve their remaining problems in a non-violent way," said Haavisto after his return from Somalia in a statement emailed to Sudan Tribune.

The Finnish official, who had met with the President Sheikh Ahmed in Addis Ababa, stressed last February on the need to involve all the Somali political forces including the exiled groups in Asmara.

The topics of the discussions in Mogadishu included Somalia-Finland cooperation in the future, security situation, supporting the state-building efforts in Somalia as well as the ongoing reconciliation processes.

He pointed out the high hopes among the civilian population in Mogadishu and in Somalia to end the violence and settle all disputes in a peaceful way.

"Particularly women were concerned that the main victims of the long period of instability and violence in Somalia are the children, who have not had opportunity to proper schooling and education. Access to health care, food security and humanitarian assistance were the issues raised by civil society in Mogadishu", Haavisto said.

He hailed the active efforts exerted by the Somali civil society despite the political instability and clashes in the Somali capital.

"This brings confidence that Somalis can start building their country rapidly when peace is there", he added.

Prior to his visit to Mogadishu Haavisto visited Cairo where he met with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, Amr Moussa, and Asmara where he discussed with the government authorities as well as with various representatives of Somali Diaspora.

Haavisto, who had worked in Sudan as EU special envoy, was appointed last January as the special envoy to Sudan and the Horn of Africa by the Finnish government. The move aims to raise Finland’s profile in mediating in the crises of Africa, and the competition for the rotating membership of the United Nations Security Council.

The Government of Finland proposed Finland’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the Security Council for 2013-14 from the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in 2002. The election will take place in autumn 2012.

(ST)

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