|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Bold Agenda in Somalia, with No More Time to ‘Wait and See’, Secretary-General
Tells London Conference, Urging Donors Still Wavering to ‘Get off the Fence’
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the London Conference on Somalia, today, 23 February:
Thank you, Prime Minister [David] Cameron, for bringing us here at this critical moment and your leadership. We have opened a space for peace and stability in Somalia. It is a small space — but it presents an opportunity we cannot afford to miss, an opportunity to help the people of Somalia and end the threats and instability that breed there, an opportunity to realize the vision of a productive and peaceful Somalia.
Today I call for steps to improve security, advance the political process, and step up assistance for recovery, reconstruction and development.
I visited Mogadishu last December. I saw the damage and danger. But I also saw the promise and potential of Somalia. In Dadaab, Kenya, at the world’s biggest refugee camp, I spoke to Somalis who have lived through war and famine. They asked: does the world even care?
We must answer with a resounding answer yes. After a 17-year absence, the United Nations Political Office for Somalia, UNPOS, returned to Mogadishu. The United Nations is now closer and more accessible to ordinary citizens, activists, journalists and businesspeople.
Thanks to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops, we can see a new horizon where the insurgency gets weaker, the peace progress gets stronger and the Transitional Federal Government’s authority expands. But these remarkable gains came at a high price. I pay tribute to the memory of those very courageous and brave soldiers who gave their lives for peace in Somalia. The real tribute now is to support the troops.
I welcome yesterday’s adoption of a new Security Council resolution authorizing the full recommended troop strength including enablers, force multipliers and sound financial support. I call on Governments to provide these urgently needed force enablers and multipliers, and to back the expansion of AMISOM. This is essential to protect and expand the gains we have made thus far.
The Somali forces operating alongside AMISOM also urgently need additional assistance. Ultimately, our goal is to transfer security responsibilities to the Somalis and establish sustainable, credible and indigenous security institutions in the country. This will take time. We must start now.
The Somalis first must agree on what security arrangements best suit their system of governance. International help must be well coordinated to support the national security and stabilization plan. As the security institutions take shape, the country needs to disarm.
We are far from our goal of eliminating piracy and kidnappings. Some 246 international seafarers are still being held, many of them from developing countries. International partners are helping, but we need security, deterrence and precautions. We also need to give Somalis real opportunities to find alternative livelihoods and build a better future.
This morning, my Emergency Relief Coordinator, Under-Secretary-General Valerie Amos, co-chaired a meeting with Member States on humanitarian assistance. Her message was clear. Famine may be ending, but more than 2 million Somalis are still in crisis. We must not allow any interruption in humanitarian assistance.
We need political progress. Maintaining the momentum is critical. The date for ending the Transition is 20 August, in line with the Transitional Federal Charter, the Djibouti Agreement, the Kampala Accord and the road map. Before then, Somalia needs a new constitution, a smaller and more representative Parliament and elections for the positions of President, Speaker and Deputies.
I, therefore, welcome the recent decisions of the Garowe II conference, which significantly advance the road map and make the peace process more inclusive. I especially welcome the unprecedented commitment to increase women’s participation in all key institutions to at least 30 per cent. I count on all the parties to ensure that they keep this promise. We must look beyond and nurture the needs of peace and reconciliation so that they grow into stable institutions, recovery and development.
In the face of military pressure, Al-Shabaab militants have retreated from large areas. Now we must show the people there how peace can take hold. Courageous Somalis are ready to work with us to achieve this. This demands more than resources. It requires outreach and compromise. All local administrations should be supported by the community, willing to engage with the peace process and acceptable to the people. The women and youth of Somalia must be actively engaged in all stages of the peace process. I count on the Transitional Federal Government and its allies to encourage this inclusive approach.
The Somali people have told us they want security, justice and jobs. I welcome the establishment of the local stability fund. I also welcome the agreed principles for international support to local areas of stability in Somalia. The United Nations has a small but growing presence in these areas — including the United Nations Mine Action Service. Ultimately, Somalia must generate its own resources. The United Nations stands ready to help Somali institutions improve their ability to collect and manage revenue. I call on Somali leaders to establish the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone to make the most of its rich fishing stock.
Mogadishu is more than the capital — it stands for the unity and integrity of Somalia. Success in the capital is important for progress all across Somalia. And it would pre-empt spoilers. We, therefore, need a surge in Mogadishu to show what is possible in southern central Somalia. We need to consolidate military gains, provide basic social services and contribute to reconstruction. Sixteen United Nations agencies and our partners are working hard to make progress. But they are underfunded. Donors should support the Mogadishu Recovery and Stabilization Plan — especially projects in newly accessible areas.
I thank Somalia’s neighbours, Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the African Union for their commitment to the peace process. Let me also thank the Government of the United Kingdom for its commitment and the Government of Turkey for hosting the Istanbul II conference, in early June in which I will also participate. I count on the African Union to deploy the guard force authorized by the Security Council. And I look forward to the day that Somali forces ensure security.
This is a bold agenda. We have no more time to “wait and see”. To any donors still wavering, I say: get off the fence. Help prevent another famine and offer new hope to Somalia. Somalis have shown astounding resilience in the face of extreme hardship. They are ready to show the world they can rebuild their lives and their country with our support. We can do no less than answer their cries for peace. Thank you for your leadership.
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For information media • not an official record