Tuesday, April 01, 2003

SOMALIA: UN team visits Mogadishu for talks on access, securityNAIROBI, 1 APRIL 2003 (IRIN) - A high-level UN team recently visited the Somali capital, Mogadishu, to discuss issues of humanitarian access and security, a UN official told IRIN on Tuesday.

The team, led by Maxwell Gaylard, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, included representatives of the UN Children's Fund, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the Chief Security Adviser.

While in Mogadishu, Gaylard and his team had held talks with the president of the Transitional National Government, a number of faction leaders, and members of the business community and local NGOs, said OCHA representative Calum McLean.

"The main purpose of the visit was to discuss issues related to humanitarian access and security in Mogadishu, and the potential for the UN to do more work to assist the very real needs of the vulnerable communities residing in the city," McLean told IRIN.

McLean quoted Gaylard as saying that national staff members and partner NGOs had worked "under very difficult conditions, and continue to do so".

"It is their commitment and bravery that has allowed the UN to continue to make valuable contributions to the people of Mogadishu," Gaylard said.

He called upon the political leadership in Mogadishu to improve security within the city and "allow uninhibited access to communities in need of assistance".

The UN estimates that up to 25 percent of Mogadishu's population are displaced people from different parts of Somalia.


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