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Appeal to stop the imminent War in the Horn of Africa

Horn of Africa Peace and Development Center (HAPDC)

December 4, 2006

International Appeal
to Stop the Imminent War in the Horn of Africa

I. APPEAL

HAPDC, a non-profit and non-partisan institution comprising people from the Horn of Africa, fervently calls on the international community including, but not limited to:

1. The United Nations (UN);
2. The European Union (EU);
3. The African Union (AU);
4. The Arab League (AL);
5. The United States Government (particularly President Bush and the US Congress);
6. The governments of the countries in the Horn of Africa;
7. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD);

To urgently take effective measures that will put an end to the rapid deterioration of relations between Ethiopia and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), which we believe, if not checked, could lead to an all-out war that would engulf the whole Horn of Africa.

HAPDC particularly:

1. Calls on the international community to respect and facilitate the basic human rights of the Somali people to express their will, in a fully democratic framework, in choosing the preferred form of governance and leadership for their country.

2. Further calls on the international community to recognize that the most urgent need for the 90 million people of the Horn of Africa, including Somalia, is to extricate themselves from the grip of their grinding poverty and not to engage in another devastating fratricidal war which could cause the loss of millions of lives- a situation that has a strong potential of becoming worse than those of Rwanda and Darfur.

3. Strongly recommends that a United Nations peace mission from neutral countries be deployed in Somalia in order to:

(a) Maintain Somalia’s sovereignty, peace and security;
(b) Facilitate a fair and free election using international observers throughout Somalia;
(c) Enhance Somalia’s capacity for the development of its economy, democratic governance, and security;
(d) Encourage and facilitate, by mobilizing adequate resources from the international community, the maintenance of stability and the achievement of an accelerated as well as an integrated economic development in the Horn of Africa for the benefit of the region’s people as well as the international community;
(e) Ensure that a comprehensive cease fire is observed; that all foreign forces leave Somalia; and that the UN arms embargo against Somalia is strictly observed; that violations of the arms embargo be met with immediate and appropriate punitive measures against the culprits; and
(f) Facilitate, in collaboration with the AU and IGAD, negotiations among contending Somali political entities with a view to resolving their differences peacefully and in accordance with the will of the Somali people.

4. Calls on all countries and organizations, which have deployed any military force in Somalia, to withdraw them immediately.

5. Fervently calls on the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to enter, immediately, into a cease-fire agreement and observe the terms and conditions strictly while the UN arranges and conducts free and fair democratic elections that allows the Somali people to exercise their free will.

6. Further calls on the UIC and TFG to engage in meaningful negotiations for bringing about peace and security to Somalia.

II. SITUATION ON THE GROUND

– The Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) now controls most of Southern and South Central Somalia. It has expanded the areas under its control from Mogadishu outward in quick succession.
– Clear evidence indicates that there are Ethiopian troops in Somalia- from Galcayo to Baidoa- in support of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).
– Clear evidence also indicates that Eritrea is actively involved in supporting the UIC with weapons; there are even reports of Eritrean Military advisors on the ground.
– Many countries in the Arab League are also involved and are actively supporting one faction or the other.
– The United States and the European Union are in agreement that Somalia not be allowed to become a haven for terrorists, but they do not agree on how best that can be achieved.
– The past 16 years have made it clear to all that there is no military solution to the Somalia problem, only a political one.
– In the meantime the Somali people continue to suffer.

I. III. Potential for War and its Consequences:

– With the UIC forces on one side and the Ethiopian and TFG forces on the other facing each other- and within a few kilometers of each other in some places- the potential for a conflagration is very high. It is no longer a question of if but when.
– The lack of unified action based on a coherent strategy to avert war on the part of the international community made events spiral out of control, making war imminent.
– War between the opposing parties will have a devastating and far-reaching effect on the economy and the people of the region and beyond. The effects of such a war will be felt for years to come.

IV.Red Alert

HAPDC issues this petition as a clarion call to the conscience of humanity and all concerned governments, appealing for timely action to avert the impending disaster that would otherwise devastate millions of people in the Horn of Africa.

For further information on HAPDC, visit www.hafrica.com