New UN envoy hails Somaliland as ‘island of relative peace and stability’ in insecure region

On his first visit to Somaliland as head of UNSOM, Special Representative Nicholas Kay meets with President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo at his office in Hargeisa. Photo: AU-UN IST/S. Price

13 June 2013 – The new United Nations envoy for Somalia arrived today in Somaliland, which he said has remained “an island of relative peace and stability” and could provide lessons for peace consolidation throughout the wider region.

“We are…here to learn and to support initiatives that will lead to sustainable peace, stability and prosperity in Somalia and beyond,” said Nicholas Kay, head of the new UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) as he arrived in Hargeisa, Somaliland this morning.

In his first visit to the region since assuming his duties as head of the Mission on 3 June, he met with President Ahmed Mahamed Mohamud (Silaanyo) and officials of the Somaliland Administration.

He was received by Dr. Mohamed Abdillahi Omar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, who accompanied Mr. Kay to the mass graves in Hargeisa, in commemoration of the worst human rights violations of the Siyad Barre regime, which occurred between 1984 and 1988.

On his arrival, he said: “I have come to Hargeisa early in my new assignment in order to make it clear to the authorities and people of Somaliland that the United Nations supports their aspirations for peace and prosperity.”

“Somaliland has remained an island of relative peace and stability in an insecure region and we believe that there are lessons that can be learned here about stabilizing the whole region,” he continued, noting Somaliland’s efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and to entrench democracy through holding periodic elections.

“We are also aware of the challenges that Somaliland faces in institutionalizing a formal system of justice alongside the traditional one and we look forward to working together to reinforce the rule of law,” Mr. Kay said, stressing that the Mission stood ready to support constructive engagement between Somalia and Somaliland.

Noting that this was the first of many visits to Somaliland and that he intends to have a close and fruitful relationship with its people and authorities of the region, he said the UNSOM office in Hargeisa will be proactively engaging the administration and civil society to explore areas of further cooperation.

The mandate of UNSOM is to support the building of national capacity, peacebuilding, with a focus on good governance, security sector reform, rule of law, human rights, providing “good offices” for mediation and political reconciliation and coordination of international assistance.

Meanwhile, the Security Council was briefed this afternoon by Assistant Secretary-General Tayé-Brooke Zerihoun on the situation in the Juba regions of Somalia.

Following those closed door talks, Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom, which holds the Council’s presidency for the month, read out a statement expressing Council members’ concern at the deterioration in the security situation in the Juba regions, particularly in Kismayo, and at the resulting impact on the civilian population and the humanitarian situation.

“The Members of the Security Council called on all parties to refrain from any action which may threaten peace and stability in the Juba regions and to engage with the Federal Government of Somalia in a constructive manner to achieve a peaceful resolution to the current crisis and to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation,” he said.

Further, Council members underlined their support for the development of an effective federal system of Government, in line with the Provisional Constitution and in respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia, in order to ensure a constructive and sincere partnership between the Somali Government and local and regional administrations.

“The members of the Security Council welcomed the commitment of the Federal Government of Somalia to lead reconciliation efforts in the Juba regions with the support of UNSOM, IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] and other appropriate actors,” he said, adding that Council members urged that this be taken forward expeditiously.

Security Council members underlined the availability of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to assist the Government of Somalia in peacefully resolving the situation.

They also underlined the importance of the issues in the Juba regions not distracting from the urgent need to end the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and bring, security and prosperity to the Somali people, the overwhelming majority of whom are committed to peace through dialogue.

“In that context, the members of the Council underscored their support for AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia] and reiterated their willingness to take action against those who undermine the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia,” the Council president concluded.


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