20 November 2008
Security Council
SC/9505

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6020th Meeting (AM)


RECENT POLITICAL PROGRESS IN SOMALIA OBSCURED BY DETERIORATING SECURITY,


HUMANITARIAN CONDITIONS, SECURITY COUNCIL HEARS IN SEVERAL BRIEFINGS


Somalia ’s Speaker Says Search for Peace Will Not Be Smooth or Quick; Council

Debates Outline for Possible Multinational Force, Follow-On Peacekeeping Operation


Despite the recent political progress in Somalia, conditions on the ground continued to deteriorate and coherent international action was needed to stem instability in the East African country, as well as the piracy off its coast, officials of the United Nations and the African Union told the Security Council this morning.


In addition, according to Raisedon Zenenga, Director of the Africa II Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Secretary-General’s proposal for a multinational force meant to relieve the under-manned African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM) and serve as a precursor to a possible United Nations peacekeeping operation had not yet garnered significant pledges of either troops, resources or leadership.


Mr. Zenenga expressed appreciation to the Member States that had committed assets to anti-piracy operations, which were valuable in securing food deliveries for the 3.2 million people of Somalia who were dependent on international assistance.  At the same time, he stressed that the piracy and terrorism was only a symptom of the anarchy that reigned in the country.


The approach being used to combat piracy should set an example for a similar coalition with the same level of military capabilities, he said.  He appealed for the deployment of the multinational force to stabilize Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu and prepare for a peacekeeping operation to consolidate peace in the country.


Haile Menkerios, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s report and noted that the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities agreement on 25 October in Djibouti between the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia had given the peace process renewed impetus.


However, he said, there was tension within the Transitional Federal Government, and hard-line groups continued to expand their operations within south-central Somalia, which exacerbated the difficulties already faced in delivering much-needed humanitarian assistance.  The situation in Somalia remained volatile and the Djibouti process must still deliver improvement in security.  “We must, therefore, persevere in our common efforts to ensure sustained support to the peace process,” he concluded.


Somalia’s representative said the leadership of the Transitional Federal Government had clearly demonstrated its commitment to reconciliation with the opposition Alliance and would continue to do so.  The greatest challenge to peace and stability in Somalia now was not a lack of political will, but a lack of security.  However, the Government had little financial support from the international community to enhance security.


“The search for peace and prosperity in Somalia will not be smooth; nor will full peace be achieved that quickly,” he said.  He assured members that the leadership of the Transitional Federal Government would overcome the current constitutional crisis by exercising leadership and wisdom.  He urged the regional countries, the African Union, as well as the League of Arab States and the United Nations, to actively support the peace process, cautioning that a “wait and see” attitude was not enough.


The Permanent Observer for the African Union called for support to the Secretary-General’s proposal for a multinational force and called on the Security Council to take the necessary steps to authorize the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia, as a matter of urgency.  The Union was making all possible efforts to strengthen AMISOM as it continued to carry out its work on the ground; its member States were called on to contribute additional troops to reach its authorized capacity of 8,000, from the current level of about 3,000 troops from Uganda and Burundi.  Piracy, armed robbery, violence, trafficking, abuse of women and children, despair and the threat of terrorism remained symptoms of the decades-long situation.


Speaking on the response to piracy, Efthimios Mitropoulos, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), expressed great concern, not only about the frequency of attacks, but also by their ferocity.  A total of 440 acts of piracy and armed robbery had been recorded since statistics had been compiled.  This year alone, 120 attacks had been reported, with 35 ships seized and more than 600 seafarers kidnapped.  He called on the Security Council to expand authorizations for a swift, coordinated national and international response, and to urge States to establish an effective legal jurisdiction to bring offenders to justice.


In the debate that followed those presentations, speakers welcomed the political agreements between Somali parties, but expressed deep concern over the deteriorating situation on the ground, particularly by the attacks against United Nations personnel, and the dire humanitarian situation.


Most speakers urged support for AMISOM, but reaction was mixed to the call for contributions to a multinational force in preparation for a United Nations peacekeeping operation.  The conditions for such intervention were just not there, the representative of the Russian Federation stressed, though he maintained that planning for all eventualities should be ongoing.  To bring about conditions that would allow a peacekeeping force, many speakers urged Somali leaders to advance the necessary political progress.


Appreciation was expressed around the table for the actions taken against piracy, but many speakers added that the scourge was a result of the instability in Somalia and would not end until a solution to the entire situation was found.  Some also called for United Nations coordination of the anti-piracy operations.


Speaking in that debate were the representatives of South Africa, France, Italy, Libya, Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Panama, China, Belgium, Croatia, United States, United Kingdom and Costa Rica.


The meeting, which began at 10:30 a.m., concluded at 1 p.m.


Background


The Security Council had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Somalia (document S/2008/709), in which the Secretary-General applauds the commitment of the Somali parties to the Djibouti process and the significant progress made, as reflected in the agreement on the cessation of armed confrontation, signed on 26 October.  He also welcomes the readiness of Ethiopia to withdraw its troops in support of that ceasefire.  As the Djibouti process remains open to all parties, he urges all Somalis to join the ongoing process and commit unconditionally to peace.  The Addis Ababa agreement signed by the leadership of the Transitional Federal Government on 25 August must be implemented quickly to establish a credible and efficient administration in Mogadishu and its region.


The Secretary-General observes that the deterioration of the security situation, particularly in the south-central regions, poses an immense challenge, not only to reconciliation, but also to the delivery of humanitarian aid.  He welcomes the parties’ commitment to establish a mechanism to facilitate and support the delivery of humanitarian assistance.  Deeply concerned at the threats issued by some groups to attack aircraft operating from Mogadishu International Airport, he calls upon armed groups to desist from imposing measures that disrupt air traffic.


Welcoming Council resolutions 1816 (2008) and 1838 (2008) on piracy and armed robbery at sea, the Secretary-General commends the efforts of Canada, Denmark, France, Netherlands and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to provide naval escorts for humanitarian vessels, as well as the decision by the European Union to establish a coordination mechanism for those escorts.  He welcomes the decisions of the Governments of India and the Russian Federation to cooperate with the Transitional Federal Government to fight piracy and calls upon the international community to also address, in a pragmatic and effective manner, the legal issues relating to persons apprehended while engaged in acts of piracy.


The Secretary-General states that the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) continues commendably to play a stabilization role in Somalia.  As the October agreement places specific responsibilities on AMISOM, he calls upon Member States that have pledged troops to deploy their contingents without any further delay.  He calls upon the international community to provide financial and logistical support to the Mission.


Concerned that the international community’s strategy for addressing the multiple threats to regional stability and international peace and security be coherent, the Secretary-General notes that it is imperative to tie together the ongoing anti-piracy operation, the AMISOM operations and the envisaged multinational force in a coordinated effort that effectively addresses both the consequences and the source of the lawlessness in Somalia.  As current conditions are not conducive to a United Nations peacekeeping operation, he appeals to Member States to respond positively to his request and pledge troops, funds and equipment for a multinational force.


Responding to the Council’s request to provide a detailed description of a feasible multinational force, he explains that he tasked the Department of Peacekeeping Operations to develop the concept of such a force to support implementation of the Djibouti agreement, taking into account AMISOM’s presence.  It is proposed that a feasible international stabilization force would be composed of a headquarters and two multinational force brigades, which should operate under a unified command.  One of the brigades could be a reinforced AMISOM; if this is not possible, or not supported by the lead nation, then a second multinational force brigade would be required.  The core mandate of the international stabilization force would be to provide a first phase of support to the implementation of the Djibouti agreement, helping the parties to establish a secure environment and create conditions for the deployment, at a later stage, of a multidimensional United Nations peacekeeping operation.


Briefings


HAILE MENKERIOS, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, introducing the Secretary-General’s report, said that following the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in Djibouti  between the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia on 25 October, the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from locations in Beletweyne and Mogadishu had commenced on 17 November.  Hard-line groups, including Al Shabaab, continued to expand their operations within south-central Somalia, which exacerbated the difficulties already faced in delivering much-needed humanitarian assistance.


He said the agreement on political cooperation signed on 25 October had given the peace process renewed impetus.  It called for the formation of a broad-based parliament and unity Government bringing the Alliance into the transitional institutions.  Various reports indicated the agreement had met with wide support inside Somalia.  The Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) had held a special Heads of State and Government meeting on Somalia on 29 October.


Tensions remained between President Abdullahi Yusuf and Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, with little prospects for reconciliation.  Resolving the stalemate rested with the Transitional Federal parliament.  IGAD had urged members of parliament to return from Kenya to Baidoa.  The Secretary-General’s special Representative Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah had met with both leaders on several occasions, calling for restraint and urging reconciliation.


He said the scourge of piracy continued to ravage the waters off the coast of Somalia.  It was closely linked to the state of security inside Somalia and the absence of law and order.  The Transitional Federal Government had taken steps to coordinate its efforts with the international community to eradicate acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea.  Whereas international efforts to reduce the vulnerability of vessels had intensified, recent events had demonstrated the considerable capacity of pirates to hijack vessels and the need to establish appropriate legal mechanisms to hold accountable those responsible.


The United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) continued to advance preparations for an international conference on assistance to Somalia to be held in the first quarter of 2009, which would focus on enhancing the implementation of the Djibouti agreement.  Three thematic areas were currently being developed for wider consultations with Somali parties and relevant international partners, focusing on political, security and peace support.  The situation in Somalia remained volatile and the Djibouti process must still deliver improvement in security.  “We must, therefore, persevere in our common efforts to ensure sustained support to the peace process,” he said in conclusion.


RAISEDON ZENENGA, Director of the Africa II Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, outlined the actions taken by the Department in response to the Council’s 4 September request to consider the possibility of a multinational force and a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia.  The possible size, tasks, area of employment and other details of those operations were described in the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2008/709).  The report also explained the phased deployment of the force, leading to a follow-on United Nations peacekeeping operation, which would be deployed in a manner subjected to progress on the political process and improvements in the security situation on the ground.  It was expected that the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) would form part of the multinational force.


He said that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had also developed a list of Member States and international organizations to lead the operations, or as potential troop financial or equipment contributors for the force.  Given the 60-day deadline set by the Council, the Secretary-General requested responses from potential contributors by 4 November, but many had indicated that they would need more time to respond.  The few responses received so far had been mixed, with only one Member State expressing explicit support for the force and offering to contribute equipment, airlift capacity or funding.  That State had indicated, however, that it was not in a position to provide the lead contingent or troops.  Several other countries, out of the 50 approached by the Secretary-General, had said that they were considering the proposal carefully.  Such countries continued to receive briefings and answers to their queries.


In those briefings, the Secretary-General reiterated his view that the current conditions in Somalia were not conducive to a peacekeeping operation, he said, maintaining that the Council was aware of the need to ensure that any force deploying in the complex conditions of Somalia had the appropriate military capacities, which would not be available to a typical United Nations peacekeeping force.  It was important to draw lessons from the Somalia operations of the 1990s, when a multinational force had succeeded in stabilizing Mogadishu and a United Nations peacekeeping force with lesser capabilities had failed.  That said, the multinational force now envisioned was a limited, targeted operation, deployed in Mogadishu only.  It would have the goal of supporting critical aspects of the Djibouti agreement and preparing the ground for the deployment of a follow-on United Nations peacekeeping operation.


Regarding the problem of piracy, he expressed appreciation to Member States, which had committed assets to anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.  That had been extremely valuable in securing food deliveries for the 3.2 million people of Somalia who were dependent on international assistance.  At the same time, he realized that piracy and terrorism from Somalia were only a symptom of the anarchy that reigned in the country.  He advocated that the approach being used to combat piracy set an example and he appealed to Member States to form a similar coalition with the same level of military capabilities, and deploy the resulting multinational force to stabilize Mogadishu and prepare for a peacekeeping operation to consolidate peace in the country.


EFTHIMIOS MITROPOULOS, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), said the escalating incidents of piracy in the Somalia waters and the Gulf of Aden was of great concern to his organization.  He was particularly concerned, not only by the frequency of attacks, but also by their ferocity.  A total of 440 acts of piracy and armed robbery had been recorded since statistics had been compiled.  This year alone, 120 attacks had been reported, with 35 ships seized and more than 600 seafarers kidnapped.  Two seafarers had already lost their lives.


He said that the attackers followed two patterns.  They attacked ships on the high seas, allegedly making use of “mother ships”, or they attacked ships and hijacked them in the territorial waters off Somalia.  His concerns were threefold:  to protect seafarers, fisherman and passengers; to ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia on World Food Programme ships; and to preserve the integrity of the shipping lane through the Gulf of Aden.


Because of Somalia’s extensive coastline, the need for as many naval vessels and military aircraft for the job was more than obvious, he said.  The strategic importance and significance of the Gulf of Aden made it imperative that the shipping lane that served, among other things, more than 12 per cent of the total volume of oil transported by sea, was adequately protected against any acts that might disrupt the flow of traffic there through.


In order to bring the situation under control, he asked the Council to undertake the following:  extend the mandate in paragraph 7 of resolution 1816 (2008); call upon States that had the capacity to do so to take active part in the fight against piracy and armed robbery against ships; strengthen and enhance the provisions of resolution 1816 (2008) and 1838 (2008), particularly with respect to having clear rules of engagement; urge States to establish an effective legal jurisdiction to bring alleged offenders to justice.


He said there was a need to act fast and with firm determination to rid the world of the modern scourge.  A coordinated and cohesive response, at the international and national levels, was necessary for the safety and well-being of seafarers, for the seamless delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia, for the protection of the marine environment against casualties that might have a catastrophic impact, and for the shipping industry to continue to serve the seaborne trade and the world economy efficiently and effectively.


ELMI AHMED DUALE ( Somalia) said there had been a number of significant political developments in Somalia.  The Government had signed the peace agreement with opposition groups, jointly creating the high-level political and security committees.  The cessation of armed confrontation agreement had been signed, which would lead to establishment of joint security forces.  The leadership of the Transitional Federal Government had clearly demonstrated its commitment to reconciliation with the opposition Alliance and would continue to do so.


He said the greatest challenges to the peace and stability in Somalia was not a lack of political will but a lack of security.  The Transitional Federal Government did not have the capacity to defend and control the entire country.  Moreover, it had inadequate or little financial support from the international community to enhance security.  An improvement in the security situation, however, would definitely have a positive impact on the humanitarian situation.


Another challenge was the issue of piracy, he said.  In that regard, he renewed his Government’s request for the help of the Council in securing the international and territorial waters off the coast of Somalia.  As the representative of South Africa had said at the adoption of resolution 1838 (2008), piracy was one of the many security challenges and the Council should address that threat to peace and security in Somalia in a comprehensive way.


He said that as the people of Somalia tackled the challenges, they would need sympathetic understanding and support from the international community.  “The search for peace and prosperity in Somalia will not be smooth; nor will full peace be achieved that quickly,” he warned.  He assured members that the leadership of the Transitional Federal Government would overcome the current constitutional crisis by exercising leadership and wisdom.  He strongly urged the countries in the region to provide “political space”.


The main task in Somalia was helping the Government and opposition groups to implement the Djibouti agreement and to devise institutions which were trusted and legitimate and which commanded the allegiance of the population, he said.  He urged the regional countries, the IGAD and the African Union, as well as the League of Arab States and the United Nations, to support the peace process.  A “wait and see” attitude was not enough.


LILA RATSIFANDRIHAMANANA, Permanent Observer for the African Union, recounted recent meetings and press releases by her organization expressing concern over the situation in Somalia and welcoming the Djibouti agreement.  She stressed the appeal of the African Union Council to the United Nations Security Council to take the necessary steps to authorize the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia as a matter of urgency.  The Union was making all possible efforts to strengthen AMISOM as it continued to carry out its work on the ground; its member States were called on to contribute additional troops to reach its authorized capacity of 8,000, from the current level of about 3,000 troops from Uganda and Burundi.  An appeal had also been launched to the international community to provide the necessary financial and logistical support to AMISOM.


Welcoming the initiative of the Secretary-General towards the deployment of a multinational force under the Djibouti agreement, she restated the readiness of the African Union to work towards the integration of AMISOM into that force, with the hope that it could help in finalizing the conditions for a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia.  She urged Member States and other stakeholders, whether or not they had been contacted by the Secretary-General, to respond positively and generously to his request.  She also urged the Council to take a decisive step that could counter the serious challenges on the ground.  Piracy, armed robbery, violence, trafficking, abuse of women and children, despair and the threat of terrorism were the symptoms of the decades-long situation.


Statements


DUMISANI S. KUMALO ( South Africa) took note of reports that the situation on the ground in Somalia was deteriorating quickly and commented that none of that was new.  It was due to the long conflict in the country, and to some extent, the inaction of the international community.  He condemned attacks on humanitarian workers, while welcoming the recent political agreements.  The parties in the country had to be supported through confidence-building measures, and all parties must be brought into the political process.  It was time for all Somali leaders to work for the people of Somalia.  He also expressed concern over what would happen if contributions to the proposed multinational force were not forthcoming, asking what the Council’s responsibility would be in that case.  The fate of countries could not be left hanging in that way, he maintained.


He said that piracy received much attention, but such problems would not end until the entire situation of Somalia was addressed.  He hoped that the Council would expend the same energy on, and attention to, the people of Somalia as it had to the piracy issue.


Noting the important role envisaged for AMISOM in implementing aspects of the Djibouti agreement and the preparatory phases for the deployment of a peacekeeping force, he said the African Union mission would not be able to do that if it continued to be under-resourced.  It was important, therefore, for the international community to respond positively to the Union’s call for support.  The Council should not perpetuate the notion of Somalia as “the forgotten conflict”; it had a legal and, more importantly, a moral obligation to act.


JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT ( France), also speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that in 2007, France had taken the initiative to ensure protection of World Food Programme convoys.  The European Council had set up a European Union naval force that would mobilize five to six naval vessels for the protection of vessels of the World Food Programme and others.  The Secretary-General had welcomed the operations.  Many States had wanted to reply to the Council’s request to act.  The European Union did not wish to be the only one to act.  It had set up an office to coordinate efforts of the international community.  The United Nations and the Secretary-General could help to mobilize efforts.  However, it would not be feasible to set up real military coordination.  He urged the Council to extend the mandate contained in resolution 1816 (2008).


Drawing attention to the link between the fight against piracy and the tragic situation of the people of Somalia, he said the situation was due to war, weakness of State, economy and crime.  No anti-piracy operation could replace the action of an international force.  A robust multinational force should be authorized by the Council and be deployed to Mogadishu.


ALDO MANTOVANI ( Italy) said the security situation continued to deteriorate.  Kidnapping of hostages was of particular concern.  He urged all parties to cease violence and to participate in the political process.  The slow pace of implementation of the Djibouti agreement was also a matter of concern.  He looked forward to the next meeting of the parties on Saturday.  It was essential that leaders overcome their differences, as failure to do so would collapse the work of six years.  The United Nations had a role to play, among other things, by the extension of financial aid and technical assistance, as well as through support for the establishment of the joint forces, as agreed.


He said a multinational force should either be established within a clear time frame, or other options should be considered.  He underscored the need to provide support to AMISOM and to renew the mandate of resolution 1816 (2008) regarding piracy.  Through such an extension, the issue of jurisdiction over those who were apprehended could also be addressed.


ATTIA OMAR MUBARAK ( Libya) expressed deep concern over the security and humanitarian situation in Somalia, despite the political progress that had been achieved.  He condemned the attacks against the United Nations in the country, which he feared could erase the hopes that had been generated by recent agreements.  He called upon the leaders of the country to work towards a functioning Government for all the people of Somalia, and he called on the Secretary-General to assure that all support efforts were well coordinated.


Turning to piracy, he expressed appreciation for the efforts of those countries that had contributed to the swift operations to allow humanitarian aid to continue.  Piracy was the result of the instability in Somalia and would end when a comprehensive political settlement was reached.  Maintaining that, there was an urgent need to deploy a force on the ground, whatever it was called, and he hoped that recent political agreements could be the basis for that force.  There was no doubt that priority should be given to its deployment and to strengthening AMISOM.  Unfortunately, the Secretary-General’s report did not provide a timeline for those efforts, which raised even more concerns.  He asked what the other options were and if conditions were not conducive for a force now.  He urged countries in a position to do so to respond favourably to the Secretary-General’s appeals for contributions to the force.


BONAVENTURE KOUDOUGOU ( Burkina Faso) condemned attacks in Somalia, particularly those against the United Nations and AMISOM.  He welcomed the Djibouti agreement, calling on the parties to comply with it, and for all Somalis to join the process.  He called on the international community to support the implementation of the agreement in all possible ways, including through the deployment of a multinational force.  He deplored the weak response to the Secretary-General’s request for contributions to that force.  It was incumbent upon the Council to anticipate coming events and find solutions to that matter.


Piracy, he said, exacerbated the situation in the country, and he welcomed the effort by certain States to combat it.  He welcomed the contributions of the International Maritime Organization in that area, but cautioned that the situation would only end with stability in Somalia.  He called upon the international community to provide more assistance for AMISOM for that purpose and to act on the Secretary-General’s requests for contributions.  The credibility of the Organization was at stake.


HASAN KLEIB ( Indonesia) said efforts of leaders to reconcile were taking place against a situation where a military solution was becoming more attractive, due to the successes of opposition armed groups.  The people of Somalia must come together and agree on a political framework to achieve peace.  Welcoming the cessation of hostilities and the Djibouti agreements, he said the international community could do more to help Somalis to stop violence and humanitarian suffering.  Today’s resolution would hopefully contribute to the stability of Somalia.  There was a hostile environment that made a peacekeeping force impossible.  AMISOM remained central and the United Nations and the international community must urgently strengthen their support for the mission.


He said his country condemned and deplored all acts of piracy.  Incidents of piracy took place on nearly a daily basis.  Piracy also impacted the social and economic lives of the countries concerned.  Piracy, however, was the by-product of lawlessness and lack of capacity.  The key to combat it lay in the political process.


HOANG CHI TRUNG ( Viet Nam) noted with appreciation the progress made by the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia in the implementation of the peace process.  He hoped the signed agreements would pave the way for dialogue and mobilize the needed international assistance.  It was a crucial step towards peace and stability.  He remained concerned, however, by the increasing insecurity emanating from the fighting among armed groups, which had resulted in heavy loss of civilian lives.


The number of acts of piracy was alarming, he said, and the deterioration of security and stability in Somalia posed an immense challenge to the delivery of humanitarian aid. Simultaneous actions on both the political and security fronts were imperative.  He urged the international community to continue its efforts to develop a common approach and commended the African Union and other regional organizations for their active role in the reconciliation process.  The United Nations should extend necessary financial and technical assistance, and he expressed support for an early deployment of a multinational force.


RICARDO ALBERTO ARIAS ( Panama) expressed deep concern over the situation in Somalia.  His country had repeatedly called for support to AMISOM, and he regretted the fact that such support had not been forthcoming in the manner requested by the African Union.  He reiterated the call to support AMISOM with the required troops and equipment, as it was the only force now seeking to stabilize Somalia.


Regarding piracy, he said that the authorization of the Security Council to combat such crimes should be repeated and strengthened.  Actions were now being taken separately by Member States, and some form of United Nations coordination should be considered.


ZHANG YESUI ( China) expressed appreciation for efforts towards reconciliation and political progress in Somalia.  He called on all parties in the country to place national interests above all else and to make further progress as quickly as possible.  The international community should support that process and encourage stability, he said, urging support for AMISOM.  In 2007, China had provided funding to the African Union for that purpose and would consider other requests for support.  A United Nations peacekeeping operation should be sent as soon as possible to prevent a worsening of the situation, he said, encouraging the Secretary-General to continue his efforts to get contributions for a multinational force that could precede a peacekeeping mission.


He said that the combat against piracy required coordinated action from the international community.  That scourge was a result of the instability in Somalia and would not end until a solution to the overall situation was found.


JAN GRAULS ( Belgium) said he was extremely concerned at the ongoing deterioration of the humanitarian situation, which had a tragic impact on the population.  Attacks against humanitarian workers were intolerable.  He welcomed progress achieved by the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia in the political situation; it should be supported by the international community and by all regional and subregional actors.  The political progress, however, had not had the expected impact on the security situation.  Opening up the Djibouti process to all stakeholders was the only solution.


He said the current security situation did not satisfy requirements for a United Nations peacekeeping operation, which in the current situation only left the option of a strengthened AMISOM.  The number of acts of piracy had reached proportions that underlined the need for action by the international community.  Belgium was studying the possibility of providing a vessel to the European Union force to be launched next month.


NEVEN JURICA ( Croatia) said that only progress on the political track could provide a solution to the rather bleak picture painted by the Secretary-General’s report.  He welcomed the agreements signed between the Transitional Government and the Alliance, commended the parties for their commitment to the peace process and called on all others to join the peace process.


The security situation gave little room for optimism, he said.  The targeting of United Nations personnel and humanitarian workers was repugnant and should be dealt with severely.  The Secretary-General’s efforts would lead to a robust multinational force on the ground shortly.  Meanwhile, however, AMISOM should be strengthened.  All parties in the conflict should be held accountable when it came to respect for humanitarian law, particularly regarding delivery of humanitarian aid.  Humanitarian access should remain a priority for the international community.  In that regard, he supported the operations against piracy, but stressed that piracy was only a symptom.  The country was in desperate need for a holistic approach.


KONSTANTIN DOLGOV ( Russian Federation) expressed hope that the resolution on sanctions adopted this morning would assist stability in Somalia.  He welcomed recent political agreements, calling for their implementation and for cooperation between all parties.  He backed the efforts of the Transitional Government to improve the situation, but noted that security continued to deteriorate, with attacks on humanitarian workers.  He called on all States to cease the flow of arms into Somalia.  The Russian Federation had authorized humanitarian aid to try to mitigate the situation.


Regarding piracy, he expressed appreciation for international efforts, noting that Russia was contributing to them and would continue to do so.  There was a need to coordinate those efforts and for the criminals involved to be brought to justice.  He agreed with all speakers who had noted that such actions alone would not solve the Somali situation, however, and he expressed support for AMISOM, while cautioning that the deployment of a United Nations mission depended on the willingness of Somali parties to implement the peace agreements.  Thus far, the necessary conditions were absent, but it was incumbent on the Organization to continue to make preparations for all eventualities.  He was carefully following discussions on the issue, and maintained that progress based on the Djibouti agreement could encourage States to contribute to a multinational force.


ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States) stressed that all action to redress the instability in Somali must be coordinated and coherent, and include action to combat piracy.  She was encouraged by recent political agreements, but stressed that the international community must take steps to cement stability in the country.  The international community must support AMISOM for that purpose, and plan both for a multinational force or a peacekeeping operation, if contributions to a multinational force were not forthcoming.  She emphasized that it was important to plan ahead for all scenarios.  She supported the European Union initiative to combat piracy and efforts to improve humanitarian access in the interim.


JOHN SAWERS ( United Kingdom) said the report gave a realistic analysis of a bleak picture on the ground.  The situation seemed to have worsened.  The political process looked fragile, and that was not being helped by divisions within the Transitional Government.  Increased violence suggested a worsening of the security situation.  Security at sea was also deteriorating.  With one frigate deployed and two other frigates in the area, ready to act, the United Kingdom was playing its part in the fight against piracy.  When resolution 1816 (2008) came up for renewal next month, the mandate for naval operations should also be addressed, in order to provide the necessary means to effectively address the piracy problem.  Humanitarian access was another pressing challenge, for which he would welcome advice from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.


He said a military solution alone to the problems in Somalia was not possible.  The Council should send a clear message that the best way forward was full implementation of the Djibouti agreement.  The Secretary-General’s report recommended first a multinational force to secure the situation on the ground and create conditions for a United Nations peacekeeping operation.  He, therefore, encouraged the Secretary-General to continue efforts to identify States that would contribute to such a force.  He welcomed the work done by the Peacekeeping Department to prepare for the time when a peacekeeping force was feasible.


JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) said the Council must face an important decision in order to define the nature of an intervention in Somalia, and it, therefore, needed more information and analysis.  While welcoming the signing of the two agreements, he stressed the importance for other armed groups to join the peace process.  The deterioration of the security situation was disturbing.  He deplored that United Nations personnel, including local staff, and humanitarian personnel had been the target of armed groups.  Progress in the security situation was necessary for the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance.  One of the first objectives in Somalia should be to ensure the safety at the airport of Mogadishu.


He was concerned at the increase of armed robbery and kidnapping on the high seas.  It was crucial to establish links between AMISOM and international efforts to fight piracy.  He asked for more analysis and information on the Secretary-General’s proposal for a multinational force and expressed the hope that countries that had the ability to provide personnel and resources would respond positively to the Secretary-General’s call.


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