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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on war-torn Somalia's transitional authorities to end internal squabbles that are hampering key tasks, and urging the international community to provide the military and financial aid needed to counter extremist forces.

“It is important that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) develop credible government structures to deliver services to its people,” Mr. Ban says in a new report to the Security Council, citing a series of disputes between the Parliament and the Cabinet and the urgent need to provide security and other basic services in a country that has been riven by factional fighting for two decades since its last functioning central government was ousted.

“In order to support the Transitional Federal Government in addressing some of its most daunting challenges, notably extending its authority and combating the threat of extremism, I appeal to the international community to provide urgent military and financial support and other resources,” he adds.

Substantial resource gaps in the UN funding for the over 5,000-strong African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM) continue to hinder its effectiveness, and possibly discourage potential troop contributors in the battle against the Al-Shabaab Islamic militants and other groups fighting the TFG, he notes.

“The horrific suicide attacks in Kampala remind us of the danger that the insurgents pose to Somalia, to the sub-region and beyond,” Mr. Ban writes, referring to the 11 July suicide attacks in the Ugandan capital in which at least 70 people were killed and many more injured.

“The Kampala attacks, later claimed by Al-Shabaab, revealed, for the first time, Al-Shabaab's ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks outside Somalia's borders – against countries and entities that threaten its insurgency and radical ideology. The attacks demonstrated that Al-Shabaab remains a serious security threat for Somalia, the sub-region and the wider international community.”

Mr. Ban underlines the funding shortfalls, with only $151 million in new funding being received by July for the already reduced $596-million UN appeal for 2010, compared to $237 million during the same period in 2009. “The reduced funding has affected humanitarian programmes across all areas of intervention,” he writes, stressing the “devastating impact” of the conflict on civilians the lack of respect for international human rights and humanitarian law.

“Humanitarian organizations are struggling to provide vital assistance to 3.2 million people in Somalia, including internally displaced persons. Resources for key sectors such as water, health and nutrition are less than 40 per cent funded. I call on the donor community to continue its critical support to the people of Somalia. I also call on all parties to the conflict to respect humanitarian principles and allow the delivery of assistance to populations most in need.”

Piracy, which in the past has hindered vital UN food deliveries, continues to endanger maritime safety and navigation off the coast of Somalia, constraining economic prospects, compromising business confidence and worsening security in the area, he writes.

“The international naval presence in the region has made considerable progress in containing the threat of piracy, but much more needs to be done, notably to address the root causes of the problem by restoring stability and the rule of law inside Somalia,” he adds.

Somalia's transition phase ends next August, giving the current Government less than a year to wrap up its remaining priority tasks in a country where anti-Government forces control large swathes of territory.

“As Somalia's transition period approaches its end, I am concerned that the transitional agenda remains largely unfulfilled,” Mr. Ban sums up. “Unity within the Transitional Federal Institutions remains critical for confidence-building among Somalis and the international community. Now is the time for the Transitional Federal Institutions to show determination to complete the transitional tasks.”