"We have now entered a critical juncture of the transitional period of the peace process in Somalia," the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), the African Union peacekeeping mission in the country, known by the acronym AMISOM, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said in joint statement. "We have come too far and too much is at stake for us to allow the process to backslide at the exact moment Somalia has its best opportunity for peace in decades."
"To this end, the United Nations, the African Union and IGAD are jointly issuing this unambiguous warning to all potential spoilers," it added, noting that any groups which do not comply or actively obstruct the roadmap will be referred to the IGAD Council of Ministers, with recommendations from the three entities to impose restrictions and sanctions on them.
Somalia"s Transitional Federal Institutions are in the process of implementing a roadmap " known as the Roadmap for Ending the Transition in Somalia " devised in September last year, that spells out priority measures to be carried out before the current transitional governing arrangements end in just a few months, on 20 August.
"As we move closer to key benchmarks, such as the convening of the constituent assembly, adoption of a new federal provisional constitution, selection of a new parliament, we remain greatly concerned that the roadmap continues to be jeopardized by the actions of individuals and groups in and out of Somalia working to undermine the fragile progress we have collectively made in recent months," the statement said.
Since 2007, AMISOM has been trying to bring peace to the country, which has had no functioning central government for the past 20 years, and which has been torn apart by factional fighting and has faced a series of humanitarian crises.
UNPOS, AMISOM and IGAD emphasized that their statement was "both a warning and a final opportunity for those that stand against peace and progress in Somalia to cease immediately and desist any and all actions against the roadmap process."
The statement was signed by the Special Representative of AMISOM, Boubacar G. Diarra, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Augustine P. Mahiga, and IGAD"s facilitator for Somalia Peace and National Reconciliation, Kipruto arap Kirwa.
Until last year, most of Mogadishu was, for several years, riven by a fluid frontline dividing the two sides " fighters belonging to the Al Shabaab movement and troops belonging to the Transitional Federal Government, with the latter supported by the peacekeeping forces of AMISOM. Since the Al Shabaab withdrawal from the capital"s central parts in August, the frontlines were pushed back to the city"s outskirts. However, the use of roadside bombs, grenades and suicide bombers is still a regular occurrence, and outbreaks of fighting still take place.