|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5942nd Meeting (AM)
Security Council urged to deploy stabilization force in somalia as FOREIGN
MINISTER calls for African Union mission to form its nucleus
Members of the Security Council were urged today to consider establishing a United Nations stabilization or peacekeeping force in Somalia as part of the Djibouti Agreement aimed at ending the “17-year-old agony of the Somali people”.
The new accord between Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia was signed on 9 June and witnessed by a number of observer States and international organizations, including France, United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the African Union, League of Arab States, Organization of the Islamic Conference and the European Union. Representatives of Governments accredited to Somalia also attended.
Today, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, said the accord provided the first opportunity in more than a decade to end the pervasive violence, which was forcing more than 800,000 people to scatter within the country, having already sent more than 3 million Somalis into exile. Implementation of the Djibouti Agreement would provide security for humanitarian programmes, in particular naval escorts for the World Food Programme (WFP) which delivered much of its assistance by sea. It would also afford systematic protection for aid workers in south and central Somalia who were often victims of targeted killings.
But the Agreement would not bring peace overnight, especially with meddling by “spoilers” and “freelance mediators”, he pointed out. “The Somalis have started working together and today the ball is in the court of the international community. We must act quickly,” he added, urging the Council to deliver a strong message of support. One possibility the Security Council might consider was “re-hatting” the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Other options would be deploying an international stabilization force, as suggested in the Secretary-General’s latest report on developments in the country, or establishing a separate United Nations peacekeeping force.
At the same time, the Council should review those on its sanctions list in order to recognize the role of individuals who had decided to change their behaviour and support peace, he continued. All peace processes had individuals or groups who set out to reject agreements and the Djibouti accord should be seen as an incentive for all Somalis to contribute to the “re-birth of their country”.
Appealing for the Council’s urgent assistance in consolidating national reconciliation efforts, Ali Ahmed Jama Jengeli, Somalia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, suggested that the African Union force already deployed in the country should be the nucleus of any future United Nations stabilization or peacekeeping force. A 26,000-strong force was not necessary as had been envisioned in past discussions. A much smaller force, under United Nations mandate and funding, was sufficient. “We hope that we are all in agreement that if the Security Council authorizes the deployment of a United Nations international stabilization force without delay, we will have ample reason to believe that the agony of the Somali people will draw to an end,” he said.
Ramtane Lamamra, the African Union’s Commissioner for Peace and Security, affirmed that the regional body stood ready for ultimate inclusion in an international stabilization force provided for in the Djibouti Agreement. At the moment, AMISOM faced a severe lack of funding and logistical support. It was currently embarking on a new troop-generation exercise to beef up its strength to the authorized 8,000 troops from the current level of 2,600.
He repeated a suggestion made to Council members in Djibouti that a strong naval component would allow the proposed United Nations force to extend its focus beyond Mogadishu, the Somali capital. In addition to strengthening security for humanitarian efforts, it would contribute to implementation of the arms embargo, enhance the protection of resources in Somalia’s territorial seas and prevent the dumping of waste in its coastal waters.
First seized of the situation in Somalia in early 1992, the Council subsequently held numerous meetings, received many reports and dispatched several fact-finding missions to the country. The Secretary-General’s latest report (document S/2008/466) says 3.5 million people could be in need of humanitarian assistance by the end of 2008, and the delivery of basic social services has virtually collapsed in most parts of the country. The human rights situation continues to be characterized by indiscriminate violence and frequent attacks against civilians, including the arbitrary detention of human rights defenders, arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings of journalists, and sexual violence.
According to the report, a spate of 14 piracy incidents off the Somali coast in the first half of 2008 alone have made those territorial waters among the most dangerous in the world for shipping.
The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and ended at 10:50 a.m.
* *** *For information media • not an official record