allAfrica.com: Somalia Reached 'Tipping Point', Can Secure Peace, UN Official Says
Somalia has made "remarkable" progress in the last two years and has reached a "tipping point" where it can secure peace, the chief United Nations official in Somalia said on Thursday.
Philippe Lazzarini spoke to reporters in Nairobi as he stepped down after 2-1/2 years as U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, which has been mired in conflict since 1991.
"For the first time, a real peace and state-building agenda is on the table and the Somalis are committed, behind it," he said. "I think a tipping point has been reached to make it happen."
Diplomats and experts note steady, if often slow, gains in rebuilding the state, but say the government still needs to tackle corruption and threats from an Islamist insurgency.
Western governments have stepped up support for Somalia since its first elected president in 45 years took office in 2012.
Only parliamentarians were eligible to vote then, and were chosen by community elders. But there are plans to broaden the franchise in nationwide elections in 2016.