|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Match Somali People’s Courage with Commitment to Democracy, Justice,
State-building, Urges Secretary-General at Mini-Summit
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the mini-Summit on Somalia, in New York, 26 September:
I am pleased to welcome you to this mini-Summit on Somalia. I appreciate your efforts to achieve peace, stability and democracy in Somalia.
I am delighted to welcome Somalia’s Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Aliin New York, and the newly selected President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, by video link from Mogadishu.
I deeply appreciate the presence of the incoming and outgoing Chairpersons of the African Union Commission. I count on their continued support to build on what we have achieved together so far.
Today, the change we have awaited so long has come. After eight long years, Somalis have concluded the transition, in line with the Roadmap, the Djibouti Agreement and the Kampala Accord. They have adopted the Provisional Constitution, convened the new House of the People of the Federal Parliament, and selected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as President.
This was a process led by Somalis — by the signatories to the Roadmap, by Somalia’s elders, by its National Constituent Assembly, by the Technical Selection Committee. Finally, it was completed by Somalia’s new Federal Parliament, which selected the new Speaker and President. The message from Parliament was clear: the status quo is no longer tenable. Somalis have chosen hope for the future.
The process of ending the transition was not always smooth. But it was more inclusive and representative than any such efforts Somalia has seen in a generation. In full view of the Somali people, young and old, men and women from all clans took part. They showed courage and integrity in the face of immense pressure.
I thank international partners for standing united in Mogadishu, New York, Djibouti, Addis Ababa, London and Istanbul. Together, and with the United Nations, you have helped prepare the ground for peace, democracy and reconstruction in Somalia. I want to especially recognize the members of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for their great sacrifices and vast contributions to peace and security in Somalia. Allow me to pay a special, solemn tribute to the many brave young men and women who lost their lives in the service of peace. Together with the soldiers of the Somali National Security Forces, they have created space for a new political future.
Today, we have gathered to welcome President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and to hear his vision for the way forward in his country. Today, we begin a new partnership for peacebuilding in Somalia — one that is led by Somalis and grounded in shared principles — to build peace and opportunity for the long term.
There is no time to lose. There are still many elements in Somalia trying to block progress and undermine peace. Just last week, deplorable attackers targeted innocent Somalis in the capital. On Saturday, a Member of Parliament was killed in a brazen attack by armed gunmen. These attacks, aimed at shattering the new found hope of the Somali people, are unacceptable.
The humanitarian situation remains critical. Two million people are affected by the crisis. That number is expected to rise if the rains fail. I am gravely concerned about civilians affected by the ongoing conflict in southern Somalia. The parties must make every effort to minimize the impact of the conflict on civilians, and allow full humanitarian access to those in need.
I also want to emphasize the importance of supporting the Somali authorities to meet their human rights obligations, as I said in my recent report to the Human Rights Council. The Somalis will direct our priorities. Our focus must be on helping to enable Somali institutions to rebuild and reconcile after two decades of war.
The President and the new Parliament must create conditions for popular elections and a constitutional referendum in just four years. The new institutions cannot squander resources. They must show they are worthy of the trust of the Somali people and the international community. They must establish fair rules of the game — including respect for human rights — that enable men and women from all clans to improve their lives. They must create conditions that give a better future to the youth, as set out in the United Nations Human Development Report on Somalia, issued this week.
I urge you now, immediately, to redouble your efforts to support Somalia. I urge you to ensure adequate and predictable support for AMISOM, especially considering its expanded area of operations and logistical challenges. We must also pave the way for Somali institutions to assume primary responsibility for security. I appeal to each of you to consider how you can contribute to democracy, justice and State-building in Somalia.
The United Nations is exploring how to scale up our engagement and deepen our partnership with Somalia. The days of meetings in Nairobi are ending. We will work to be present alongside the Somali people in all areas where it is safe to operate. In October we will review the United Nations strategy in Somalia, in close consultation with the new Somali leadership, the African Union and others.
Somalia’s people have taken risks for peace and they will need to show even more courage in the years ahead. We must match their courage with our commitment.
* *** *For information media • not an official record