UN, AU, IGAD Warn Against Spoiling Somali Transition

Posted May 1st, 2012 at 12:05 pm (UTC-5)
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The United Nations, African Union and an East African bloc are warning they will impose sanctions on anyone who tries to disrupt Somalia's move toward a new constitution.

In a joint statement Tuesday, the U.N., AU, and the Intergovernmental Agency on Development, or IGAD, said Somalia is at a critical juncture, and too much is at stake to let the the country's peace process backslide.

The bodies said individuals who try to block the process will be referred to IGAD for possible restrictions, and may also be referred to regional U.N. monitors for investigation.

In an interview with VOA , U.N. special envoy to Somalia Augustine Mahiga said the warning is aimed, in part, at some Somali lawmakers.

“We still have elements in the parliament who are threatening to form their own government outside the roadmap and extend themselves. There are former warlords, who may be in parliament or outside of parliament, who are essentially in alliance with some members of parliament. But there are also groups that are bent on sabotaging the whole exercise around the constitutional process. And we want to engage them in constructive dialogue instead of just obstructing and being diversionary.”

The U.N.-backed “roadmap” for Somalia calls for Somali clan and political leaders to approve a new constitution, to be followed by the selection of a new parliament.

Observers hope the new institutions will help bring peace to Somalia, which has experienced more than 20 years of conflict and chaos since the last stable government fell in 1991.