Security Council condemns violence

The UN Security Council has condemned the continuing fighting in Somalia, and called for an immediate end to all acts of violence and for safe access to humanitarian personnel.

"It is those that have weapons of war who continue to hold the people of Somalia hostage to the cycle of violence," said a statement by the Council's current president, Guinean Ambassador Mamady Traore. "These people will be held accountable by the Somali people and the international community for their actions if they persist on the path of confrontation and conflict."

The statement said violence had continued even after the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement by the Somali parties on 27 October. Under the terms of the agreement, the Somali groups agreed to suspend all hostilities for the duration of the peace conference being held in Kenya.

Since then there have been continuing violations, with fighting in the capital, Mogadishu, the towns of Las Anod in the northeast and Baidoa in the southwest, and in the Bari, Bay, Bakol, Gedo and Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle and Middle Juba regions.

The statement urged the Somali parties "to end the suffering of their people and to restore peace and stability to their country".

It called on all states and other actors "to comply scrupulously" with the UN arms embargo and prevent the flow of weapons into the country. It stressed that "persons and entities must not be allowed to take advantage of the situation in Somalia to finance, plan, facilitate, support or commit terrorist acts from the country".

The statement also called on the Somali leaders to provide immediate safe access to all humanitarian personnel. Noting the relative stability in some parts of the country, the Council requested the UN Secretary-General "to continue putting in place preparatory activities for a comprehensive post-conflict peace-building mission in Somalia once security conditions permit".

The statement reiterated the Council's ongoing support for the Somali peace talks now being held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.