Somalia cannot afford to repeat ‘pattern of division, paralysis’ – UN political chief

Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman. Photo: AU/UN/IST/Tobin Jones

19 November 2014 – Somalia’s positive strides do not mean “plain sailing”, the United Nations political chief stressed today, telling a high-level forum in Copenhagen that the international community must continue to support the Horn of Africa nation in its efforts to stabilize and build sustainable security.

In his opening remarks at the two-day High-Level Partnership Forum (HLPF) on Somalia held in Copenhagen, Denmark, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman explained that Somalia simply “cannot afford to repeat the pattern of division and paralysis.”

“Overall, Somalia is in a better state than it has been in a generation,” Mr. Feltman said, adding that in a world of relentless crises, conflict and human suffering, Somalia has stood out as different – a positive narrative in the making.

“Of course this does not mean plain sailing,” he said, underscoring that “some of Somalia’s old shadows still haunt us.”

Yet, gains have been the result of a strategic, effective partnership among Somalia’s federal leadership that gave Somalis and those in the international community faith and confidence.

For instance, the Secretary-General’s visit to Mogadishu last month along with the President of the World Bank and other regional partners was yet another sign of broadening and deepening international engagement in Somalia, he said.

Joining the UN political chief in Copenhagen are top officials including Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, representatives of Puntland and the Interim Jubba Administration, and Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, among others.

HLPF Copenhagen aims to maintain the momentum in the political transition process, within the framework of the Somali New Deal Compact, a document endorsed by the Somali Government and international partners at the Brussels Conference in September 2013.

The Compact is seen as a road map for promoting State-building and peace-building priorities in Somalia between 2014 and 2016.

“The Compact we will renew today remains the right tool to marshal our efforts for long-term peace and development,” said Mr. Feltman.

Supporting Somalia in its comprehensive approach to counter-terrorism is imperative. The campaign against Al-Shabaab has advanced, in no small part to Somali security forces and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), he said.

On the progress in partnership for transparent finance through the Financial Governance Committee, Mr. Feltman explained that it was critical to build confidence in Somalia’s economy at home and abroad.

“Much more needs to be done. But international economic investment is already significant and growing,” he added.

Spurts of violence over the past few weeks in the country are unfortunately not new, said Mr. Feltman as he urged the President and other officials to resolve the current crisis in a way that ensures political stability through to 2016.

He also welcomed the role of the regional Intergovernmental Authority of Development (IGAD), of which Somalia is a founding member, in facilitating the search for a lasting solution.

For their part, international partners must live up to the principles pledged, and fulfil commitments of the New Deal Compact to “ensure that our investment and commitment in Somalia is matched by results on the ground.”

“We also must redouble our efforts to improve the lives of ordinary Somalis, remembering that some 3.2 million remain in need of humanitarian assistance,” Mr. Feltman said.


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