Accra, Feb 28, GNA- President John Evans Atta Mills on Monday urged the African Union agencies working on the Somalia peace process not to be daunted by past failures of peace initiatives, but use the right mix of support to ensure noticeable progress in the current peace efforts.
He told the opening session of a meeting on the African Union Support to the Implementation of the Djibouti Peace Process for Somalis that all of Africa was watching with keen interest the outcome of the current arrangement for peace.
The three-day meeting in Accra is being attended by Ghana\'s former President Jerry John Rawlings, now AU High Representative on Somalia.
The conference, also being attend by seven members of the Trasitional Federal Parliament in Somalia, is meant to seek a wide range of consultations and inputs into the reforms and strategies for the effective discharge of the duties of the Transitional Team and to ensure lasting peace in Somalia after two decades of civil war.
President Mills said there were few areas in the world that had the intensity and diversity of the situation that had plagued the African continent, and the conflict in Somalia unacceptably threatened the peace and stability of the Horn of Africa.
The strife had now assumed global dimensions, inducing transnational conflicts, international crime, terrorism and the destruction of physical infrastructure.
It is also denying access to education, and undermining the image of Somalia.
President Mills commended the efforts of the African Union and praised former President Rawlings on his acceptance of the position of the AU High Representative on Somalia to bring his vast experience to bear on the peace process.
Former President Rawlings stressed that the solution to the Somali problem would require a more inclusive and reconciliatory approach.
He called for the filling of a leadership vacuum in Somalia, saying the absence of elected leaders had made it difficult to win the trust of the people and appreciate the situation on the ground.
Former President Rawlings observed the negatives of the crisis, such as famine, and called for concerted efforts to bring the situation under check.
\"Somalia is in need of internal structures if the rebuilding process is to succeed,\" the former President said, adding \"we have to take advantage of the wind of change [in North Africa] to ensure peace in Somalia.
Other speakers at the session, Ghana\'s Foreign Affairs Minister Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, United Nations Special Representative for Somalia, Mr Boubacar Diarra, and Mr Shariff Hassan Sheikh Aden, the Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament of Somalia, as well as Dr Augustine Mahiga, praised Ghana\'s democratic credentials and welcomed Ghana\'s contributions in the Somalia peace efforts.