13 May 2009
Security Council
SC/9658

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

Security Council

6124th Meeting (AM)


three-phaseD approach to stability unveiled as senior officials


brief Security Council on situation in somalia

 


Members Hear Secretary-General’s Proposals for United Nations Engagement


The international community had a “unique opportunity” to help the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia establish peace and security, speakers emphasized today as the Security Council heard a series of briefings on the situation in that country by senior United Nations officials.


B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said:  “Now is not the time to analyse and discuss, but to provide concrete help while it can still make a difference.  The consequences of inaction would be borne not only by Somalis, but by the region and the world at large.”


There were reasons for hope despite the fragile situation, he said, citing the broad-based Government that had emerged from the peace process.  It enjoyed the support of large sections of the Somali population, as well as member States of the regional Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD).  More importantly, the Government was reaching out to opposition groups in an attempt to forge national reconciliation.  Negotiations, persuasion and inclusion were at the core of the Government’s strategy.


The Government must be backed by a credible security force and be able to demonstrate the clear dividends of peace and national reconciliation to Somali communities, he continued.  The Secretary-General proposed a three-phased approach:  supporting the establishment of Somali security institutions and strengthening the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM); establishing a “light footprint” for the United Nations; and deploying, at an appropriate time, a United Nations peacekeeping operation.


Establishing effective governance inside Somalia was also one of the keys to bringing law and order to the waters off the country’s coasts, he said, concluding that the only lasting solution was one created and led by the Somalis themselves.  The international community must make a vital investment to nurture the fragile peace process and help the Transitional Federal Government establish its authority throughout the country.


Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said that the Secretary-General, in proposing a United Nations peacekeeping operation for Somalia, recommended a three-phased, incremental approach.  In the first phase, the Organization would maintain its current support of AMISOM, with an assessment of progress after three to four months.  Security conditions permitting, that engagement would move to the second phase, involving the establishment of a light United Nations footprint in Mogadishu.  Following an assessment of progress after a further three to four months, the Council would then decide whether conditions were conducive to shift to the final phase, in which a United Nations peacekeeping operation would replace AMISOM.


He went on to say that the Secretariat continued to engage possible troop contributors in preparation for an eventual United Nations peacekeeping operation.  Fourteen out of 60 Member States approached had responded, with four saying they would not contribute.  However, Bangladesh was willing to offer naval and air force assets, Pakistan had expressed its willingness to provide maritime assets, and Indonesia was prepared to provide troops and take a lead role.  Uruguay had offered to contribute military observers.


Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, briefed the Council on her Office’s efforts in support of AMISOM by providing funding for various activities, as well as its actions to ensure efficiency and transparency while trying to avoid duplications.


Mohamed Addullahi Omaar, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, said the international community and Somalia now had a real basis upon which to establish stability and the rule of law in the country.  The Somali Government stood for the rule of law, establishment of the State, good neighbourly relations with other countries in the subregion, and respect for human rights and for all faiths, which was the basis of Sharia (Islamic law).  The remaining issue was what the Government and the world could expect from the opposition.


Recalling an armed effort to overthrow the Government in Mogadishu on 9 May, he said the Government and the new President were ready for a ceasefire and negotiations to implement peace, adding that he had sought contact with the current leadership of the opposition group Hisbul Islam to see how the bloodshed could be stopped.


“Our door is open, we are not making preconditions”, he said, adding:  “Our difficulty has been throughout the past three months that we cannot get an answer.  We will do whatever needs to be done and we ask for your assistance to give us the resources, support and partnership that we’ve previously reached so that turmoil in Somalia, on land and in international waters, can be addressed.”


Also addressing the Council was the representative of the Czech Republic, who spoke on behalf of the European Union.


The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 11:05 a.m.


Background


Council members had before them the Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia pursuant to Security Council resolution 1863 (2009), the text that expresses the Council’s intent to establish a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia as a follow-on force to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) pending a further decision of the Council by 1 June 2009 and an assessment report from the Secretary-General.


To that end, the report (document S/2009/210) provides an update on implementation of the resolution, including developments in the political process, an assessment of the security situation on the ground, and progress towards the full deployment and strengthening of AMISOM since the Secretary-General’s previous report, dated 9 March 2009 (document S/2009/132).  It also sets out, on the basis of the ongoing integrated mission planning process, the Organization’s strategic objectives for Somalia and provides recommendations on the mandate of the envisaged United Nations peacekeeping operation.


According to the report, the political objectives include helping the Transitional Federal Government build support for the peace process in Somalia and the wider region, and fostering national reconciliation; building capacity for local governance; and supporting the integration of human rights into all aspects of the peace process.  Security objectives would entail helping the Transitional Federal Government create security conditions that would allow the entrenchment of State institutions, the provision of humanitarian aid, and progress in recovery efforts through the construction of a legitimate, locally owned and developed national security apparatus.  On the recovery track, the strategic objective should be to help Somalia move beyond the current emergency and ensure that its people experience some benefits from the peace process.


At the same time, the life-saving and protection needs of some 3.2 million people in need of emergency assistance would remain a critical priority, the report notes, pointing out that, in all these activities, success would hinge on supporting solutions that are progressively owned and led by Somalis.  Accordingly, the priority on all three tracks should be to build the capacity of Somali society and institutions, taking into account the Government’s transitional status, and to focus on enabling it to deliver on transition tasks, while, at the same time, building the basis for national institutions.


The report also assesses all the scenarios and options identified during the integrated mission planning process, from a transition from AMISOM to a United Nations peacekeeping operation (option A), to staying the current course by strengthening AMISOM while building Somalia’s security institutions (option B), to staying the current course with a “light footprint” in Somalia (option C), to continuing engagement but with no international security presence (option D).


From this analysis, the Secretary-General concludes that, while the deployment of a multidimensional peacekeeping operation should remain the Organization’s goal, realistically achieving it will require several conditions.  For the present, he recommends an incremental approach, whereby the United Nations would pursue its strategic objectives while continuing to work towards the deployment of a peacekeeping operation at the appropriate time.  This approach would be taken in three phases:  in the first, the United Nations would maintain its current engagement, approved in Security Council resolution 1863 (2009), as set out in option B.  This consists of support to AMISOM, support in building Somali security institutions, and support for the political process and the recovery and humanitarian activities of the United Nations country team.  Progress in implementing this first phase would be assessed after three to four months.


Security conditions permitting, engagement would then be extended to the second phase, encompassing the activities set out in option C, according to the report.  This would entail adding to the activities of the first phase a light United Nations footprint in Mogadishu consisting of elements from the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), to support the political process on the ground; the Department of Field Support, to oversee delivery of the AMISOM support package; and the United Nations country team, to oversee delivery of humanitarian assistance, as well as recovery and development projects.


The report says that these two phases would be transitional steps to allow time for the full implementation of the planned support package to AMISOM, an assessment of progress by the Transitional Federal Government to build security and develop its own security institutions, and an evaluation of the acceptability of a United Nations presence in Mogadishu.  Both phases would be assessed three to four months after they commenced.  At the end of the second-phase assessment, the Council would review the Organization’s role and decide whether to shift to the final phase, in which a peacekeeping operation could be established to take over from AMISOM (option A).  Additionally, throughout these three phases, a contingency plan should be in place for continuing United Nations engagement under the scenarios described in option D, whereby a possible degeneration of the security situation could make the establishment and retention of an international presence in Mogadishu untenable.


The Secretary-General says that this carefully calibrated and flexible approach will enable the United Nations to gauge the acceptability, sustainability and effectiveness of the progressive establishment of an expanding United Nations presence, while placing emphasis on building the capacity of Somalia’s security institutions and support to AMISOM.  While the peace process is at a fluid stage and all options must remain on the table, the approach allows the Organization to pursue all options (A, B and C) at the appropriate time, in the appropriate circumstances and conditions permitting.  Yet, its success hinges on the Organization’s continuing support for AMISOM, investment by Member States in supporting the effective development of Somalia’s security institutions, and the necessary security infrastructure to establish the envisaged United Nations presence.  By emphasizing Somali ownership and capacity-building, it depends on the continuing cooperation of the Transitional Federal Government and its full and inclusive engagement in the peace process.


Briefings


B. LYNN PASCOE, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s report (document S/2009/210), saying a critical moment had been reached in Somalia at a time when the response of the international community could make the difference between consolidating hopeful steps towards peace and a descent once again into anarchy and hopelessness.  Despite the recent fighting, there were reasons for hope.  The peace process had produced a broad-based Somali Government, supported by large sections of the population and member States of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD).  More importantly, the new Government was reaching out to forge national reconciliation with opposition groups.  Negotiations, persuasion and inclusion were at the core of that strategy to achieve a lasting political settlement.  The international community must not lose the opportunity to support leaders who showed commitment to peace.


He said the Secretary-General had elaborated a strategy aimed at supporting the peace process and helping the Transitional Federal Institutions enhance dialogue with opposition forces, while building a “critical mass” in support of the peace process and consolidating the Institutions.  For the Government in consolidating peace, it must deal with a continuing security challenge with the backing of a credible security force.  It must also be able to demonstrate the clear dividends of peace and national reconciliation to Somali communities.  Efforts to strengthen AMISOM responded to those needs.  The Secretary-General’s proposed three-phased approach -- supporting the establishment of Somali security institutions and strengthening AMISOM, establishing a light United Nations footprint, and deploying a United Nations peacekeeping operation at an appropriate time.  The Brussels Conference of 23 April had been organized with the aim of mobilizing international support for the first phase.  The next step was ensuring full receipt of the $213 million pledged at the event.  The AMISOM would receive $160 million, and the Somali security institutions $66 million.


Recalling the 9 May attempt to overthrow the Government by force, he said the attempted coup had been led by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys and included Al Shabaab fighters.  While the attempted coup had been repelled, the situation remained fragile, and reports indicated that the attacking forces included an increasing number of foreign fighters.  Yesterday, all sides had accepted a ceasefire, but it seemed that Al Shabaab had resumed attacks this afternoon.  The latest surge in violence was clearly a response to the Government’s strategy to build a critical mass in support of peace.  International support for the Government was particularly crucial now.


Establishing effective governance inside Somalia was one of the keys to bringing law and order to the waters off the country’s coasts, he said, stressing that piracy was turning into a business that, if left unchecked, would create localized criminal economies.  Efforts by international maritime forces were having a significant impact.  Their operations were an integral part of a wider anti-piracy effort which included assisting local communities to undertake alternative forms of employment; tracking the flow of money; prosecuting those responsible; and creating a coastal security force.  The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia had requested the United Nations to propose a number of counter-piracy initiatives on land.  They would be presented to the Group later this month.  A coordination mechanism was being established to bring together efforts to address the piracy challenge on the high seas, on land, in the region and internationally.


He concluded by emphasizing that the only lasting solution for Somalia was one created and led by the Somalis themselves.  The international community must make a vital investment to nurture the fragile peace process, help the Government establish its authority throughout the country, and build its security and rule-of-law institutions.  “Now is not the time to analyse and discuss, but to provide concrete help while it can still make a difference.  We must continue to engage in a credible and practical manner.  […] The consequences of inaction would be borne not only by Somalis, but by the region and the world at large.”


ALAIN LE ROY, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said the international community must firmly back the Transitional Federal Government and leave no stone unturned in preventing extremist elements from derailing the peace process.  It was necessary to ensure that the role of the international community was acceptable to the Somali people and that it did not exacerbate tensions on the ground.  It was in that spirit that the Secretary-General’s report presented a holistic approach entailing political, security, development aspects, as well as distribution of humanitarian assistance.  The report recommended a three-phased, incremental approach to the creation of a United Nations peacekeeping operation.


In the first phase, he continued, the Organization would maintain its current engagement in support of AMISOM while also supporting the political process, as well as humanitarian and recovery work.  Security conditions permitting, engagement would move to the second phase, involving the establishment of a “light footprint” comprising elements of UNPOS, the Department of Field Support and the country team, who would continue pursuing the strategic objectives set out in phase one.


He said phase two would also entail transitional steps, allowing the Organization fully to support AMISOM, assess the Transitional Federal Government’s progress in building security and security institutions, and gauge the acceptability of a United Nations presence in Mogadishu.  The Council would then review the Organization’s role and decide whether conditions favoured a shift to the final phase, in which a United Nations peacekeeping operation would replace AMISOM.


The incremental approach was the right strategy at the present time because it was flexible, he said.  Shifting from one phase to another should be based on unfolding conditions, rather than a rigid timetable.  Throughout the three phases, it would be important to maintain contingency plans for continued United Nations political and humanitarian engagement in case the security situation deteriorated.  At the same time, the Organization should be ready to move more quickly to capitalize on security improvements, if they occurred.  A United Nations peacekeeping operation should only be deployed after certain basic preconditions for success were met, including a lasting ceasefire, consent by all major Somali actors on the ground, adequate troop pledges by Member States, and the requisite military capacity.


Deploying without those conditions would be a high-risk option and an ill-timed mission would fail, he warned, adding that installing an operation under the present conditions would attract resistance that could detract from the peace process.  Since some key Somali political players, as well as religious and clan elders, were deeply divided over the issue, deploying under the present circumstances could undermine ongoing efforts for political reconciliation.  It would also place peacekeepers at risk of attack, which could draw the United Nations force into the conflict.  It was important to bear in mind lessons from previous United Nations peacekeeping experiences in Somalia and ensure that the Organization decided on the appropriate engagement.  The Secretary-General’s report argued for the prudent approach, while acknowledging that the peace process was at a fluid stage and all options must remain on the table.


The Secretariat continued to engage possible troop contributors in preparation for an eventual United Nations operation, he said.  To date, 14 out of 60 Member States had responded to a note verbale from the Office of Military Affairs in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations seeking troops, while 10 had said they would not contribute, he said.  However, Bangladesh had expressed its willingness to contribute naval and air force assets, and noted that it would need United Nations assistance to ensure the equipment necessary for its contingents to deploy.  Since publication of the Secretary-General’s report, Indonesia had verbally informed the Department of Peacekeeping Operations of its willingness to provide troops and take a lead role in a peacekeeping operation.  Pakistan had also said it was willing to provide maritime assets, while Uruguay had offered military observers.


Emphasizing that the path to durable security lay with the Somalis themselves, he said the central aspect of the strategy described in the report was to build a national security force and a police force capable of taking over responsibility for the country’s security.  Council members should continue to help the Transitional Federal Government develop security institutions in accordance with a clean plan and the rule of law.  It was to be hoped that in the coming weeks the Transitional Federal Government would speed up the preparation of a strategic plan to build its national security forces.  That would enable bilateral partners to determine the nature of assistance needed and how best to coordinate contributions.  The United Nations had been providing expertise to that process through the Joint Security Committee and was working with AMISOM to build on the existing police training regime of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).


SUSANA MALCORRA, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, said Council resolution 1863 (2009) had established a strategy of support to strengthen security in Mogadishu with voluntary funding and United Nations logistical support for AMISOM, which  was critical for establishing peace and security in Somalia.  Contributions pledged in Brussels had been encouraging, but while the success of the Conference highlighted the international community’s commitment, the disparate funding mechanisms represented coordination challenges.  Gaps and potential duplication must be addressed.


Stressing that the gains achieved in Somalia must not be lost, she said the situation on the ground was evidence that the fragile peace process must be protected.  The window of opportunity was small and the fulfilment of pledges must be accelerated.  Armoured personnel carriers and patrol boats were needed and efforts to bring AMISOM up to strength must be supported.  Sierra Leone had pledged a full battalion, which was a critical pledge.  The African Union was tracking all donor trust funds and in-kind pledges to ensure appropriate coordination and avoid duplication.


Although there had been a rise in insurgent attacks, key milestones had been achieved, she said.  On 22 April, assets had been delivered to AMISOM in Mogadishu, including United Nations security equipment and medical supplies.  Other support had been delivered for the initial training of AMISOM troops.  Training programmes under way would be concluded by the end of May.  Equipment from the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), including 400 accommodation units, had been deployed in Mogadishu following the liquidation of that operation.


A comprehensive funding proposal for the period 2009-2010 and standards for operational requirements should be before the General Assembly shortly, she said, adding that the core team of the Support Office was deployed in Nairobi.  Resolution 1863 (2009) required the signing of a memorandum of understanding to ensure the transparent and effective use of United Nations support.  The draft had been finalized and would be sent to the African Union during the week.


All procurement processes had been launched and a small passenger jet was scheduled for deployment later in the month to provide AMISOM with critical medical evacuation capacity.  Arrangements were under way to provide the African Mission with the means to mitigate risks to its supply chain.  The international community now had a unique opportunity to support the process.  One challenge was the need to deliver support within the standards of oversight.  That called for a United Nations international footprint in Somalia which was now precluded by security situation.  Interim oversight mechanisms were being put in place.


Statements


MOHAMED ADDULLAHI OMAAR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, thanked the organizers and contributors who had made pledges during the 23 April Brussels Donor Conference and welcomed the Secretary-General’s report.  It outlined the structure of the international community’s partnership for peace and stability in Somalia, which had been the country’s desired goal for the past 20 years.  The international community and Somalia now had a real basis for establishing stability and the rule of law in the country.  The Djibouti Agreement was the backbone of the peace and the basis on which the Transitional Federal Government had been installed.  Somalis throughout the country had not only welcomed it, they had seen that it was what they had been looking for.  The Government was fully ready, willing and able to work with the Secretary-General and the United Nations to implement the full empowerment of the Government, capacity-building for institutions and an expanded AMISOM presence.


Noting that he had left Mogadishu on Friday and that the current events had started today, he said the Government and the President affirmed by the Council of Religious Elders were ready for a ceasefire and negotiations to implement peace.  They had never denied the opportunity for any party, inside or outside the country, to remain outside that process or not to be engaged.  Contact with the current leadership of the opposition group Hisbul Islam had been sought in the last three days to see how the bloodshed could be stopped.  “Our door is open, we are not making preconditions.  Our difficulty has been throughout the past three months that we cannot get an answer.”


The Somali Government was for the rule of law, establishment of the State, good neighbourly relations with countries in the subregion, and respect for human rights and all faiths, which was the basis of Sharia law”, he said.  “We remain committed to that programme and we will not be dislodged.”  The remaining issue was what the Government and the world could expect from the opposition.  The Government had sought every opportunity to engage with it, but had no clear indication of opposition requirements, locally or internationally.  “The Somali people are not willing to give up or to miss the opportunity now present today.  We will do whatever needs to be done and we ask for your assistance to give us the resources, support and partnership that we’ve previously reached so that turmoil in Somalia, on land and in international waters, can be addressed.”


PETR KAISER (Czech Republic), speaking on behalf of the European Union, acknowledged the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General’s report, saying that, given the current security conditions, his proposed phased approach of continued support for AMISOM and strengthening of Somali security institutions was the best available option.  Despite positive political developments and the powerful political momentum created by the Djibouti process, the overall security situation remained extremely fragile.  The European Union was greatly concerned about the humanitarian situation, the plight of internally displaced persons, and the dramatic increase in pirate attacks off the Somali coast and on the high seas.


He welcomed the contributions pledged during the 23 April Brussels Conference, noting that the European Commission’s pledge of more than €70 million was a testament to its strong commitment to help the Transitional Federal Government bring about peace and stability.  Strengthening the security and police forces was vital for Somalia’s stability, and the European Union called on the international community to step up its support for Somali institutions so they could further consolidate reconciliation, restore peace and rebuild the country.


There was a need to continue to address piracy through an international naval presence, and land-based solutions to its root causes must be urgently addressed, he said.  It was important to continue to support AMISOM through United Nations logistical support packages, United Nations Trust Funds and coordinated bilateral arrangements.  The European Union supported AMISOM in its training of the Somali national security and police forces.  It had committed €40 million to that end, and several European Union members had also offered financial, material and logistical assistance.


The European Union’s priority was to support good governance, human rights and the rule of law, he said, recalling that the European Commission had announced at the Brussels Conference its plans to allocate more than €215 million in those areas from 2008 to 2013.  The European Union also provided humanitarian emergency relief and other assistance to alleviate the suffering of the Somali people.  It was contributing to international efforts to curb piracy off the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Eden.  It was ready to continue, through the deployment of the maritime military mission ATALANTA, to protect United Nations vessels delivering logistical support to AMISOM, humanitarian supplies, and through surveillance and patrolling in maritime areas.


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