|Somali leaders observe the playing of the national anthem during the closing ceremony of the Somali constitution conference in Mogadishu. Photo: Radio Mogadishu.|
WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday hailed the adoption of a provisional constitution in Somalia, calling for a quick and transparent completion of the remaining tasks facing the African nation in transition.
"On behalf of President (Barack) Obama and the people of the United States, I want to congratulate the members of the Somali National Constituent Assembly and the Somali people on yesterday's historic vote to approve Somalia's Provisional Constitution," the top U.S. diplomat said in a statement.
"By laying the foundations for a mutually agreed upon system of governance, this vote moves Somalia closer towards lasting stability," she added.
Under the provisional constitution, a new parliament will be selected by 135 Somali traditional elders, which in turn will elect a speaker and president, key ingredients of a plan to move Somalia out of the long transitional period by Aug. 20.
"We urge that these remaining tasks be completed quickly and transparently so that the transition ends on schedule, and Somalia is able to usher in a new era of governance that is more responsive, representative and accountable," Clinton said.
Currently on an African tour, Clinton is scheduled to meet in Kenya with Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, president of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, and other signatories to the Roadmap to End the Transition to underscore U.S. support for completing the Somali political transition, according to the U. S. State Department.
Since the outbreak of a civil war in 1991, there has been no central government control over most of Somalia's territory, and the internationally-recognized transitional government controls only a small part of the country.
"Our support for Somalia and the Somali people will continue beyond the end of the transition," Clinton said in her statement
Meanwhile the joint UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has announced he will stand down from his role as mediator in the Syria conflict within weeks. Annan said it was impossible for him to push for a political solution in Syria because of a lack of united international pressure.
Annan’s departure comes in the face of a 17-month armed rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad, whose violence shows no sign of abating. Annan says his role has been plagued by deep divisions within the international community over how to resolve the conflict.
Kofi Annan, UN-AL special envoy to Syria, said, "At a time when we need, when the Syrian people desperately need action, there continues to be finger-pointing and name-calling in the Security Council. I have therefore informed the Secretary-General of the UN and the Secretary-General of the Secretary-General of the Arab League today that I do not intend to continue my mission when my mandate expires at the end of August."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he has accepted Annan’s resignation with deep regret, and is discussing possible successors with the Arab League.
The Syrian opposition says Annan’s resignation means the failure of the peace initiative. The Syrian Foreign Ministry has expressed its regret, blaming armed groups and their Western backers for the continuing violence.
Annan’s announcement of resignation comes as fighting intensifies in Syria’s two largest cities, Aleppo and the capital Damascus. .(Xinhua)