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Sunday, July 31, 2011

'UN must intervene in Somalia,' ex-German UN director says

International relief efforts for the starving people of Somalia are being hindered by tribal conflicts. The former head of the United Nations environment program says it's high time for the UN to intervene.

The United Nations must do more to combat hunger in Somalia and other countries on the horn of Africa suffering from the ongoing drought, Klaus Töpfer, former head of the UN environment program, said Sunday.

"Where is the UN's rapid reaction force?" Töpfer asked in an interview with German weekly Bild am Sonntag.

Töpfer, speaking in his current role as vice president of Germany's food aid organization Welthungerhilfe, said attempts to ease Somalia's famine were being undermined by tribal feuding and Islamist fundamentalism. He demanded military intervention from the UN "as soon as possible" to assist international relief efforts.

"National sovereignty is of great value for all countries, of course, but when people are starving as a result, this is where sovereignty ends." (more)