Averting famine should be 'top of the agenda' for new Somali government, says UN chief Guterres

The new President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, is sworn in after he was declared the winner of the election held at the Mogadishu Airport hangar. UN Photo/Ilyas Ahmed.

9 February 2017 – Secretary-General António Guterres joined the wider United Nations and its international partners in congratulating Mohamed Abdullahi 'Farmajo' upon his election as the Somalia's new President and pledging to work with him and his new Government to tackle urgent national priorities, including averting famine.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Guterres also commended the African Union Mission, known as AMISOM, and the Somali security forces for ensuring a secure environment during yesterday's poll.

“The Secretary-General expresses the hope that President Mohamed Abdullahi 'Farmajo' will move expeditiously to form an inclusive Cabinet. The new Government and federal member states should together tackle urgent national priorities immediately, including finalizing the constitution and establishing effective national security forces,” the statement said.

It went on to stress that the current humanitarian situation created by the drought and the imperative of averting a famine should, however, “be at the top of the agenda,” and that the United Nations stands ready to support the Government in this regard.

“[Mr. Guterres] also expresses his appreciation to international partners, including the African Union, the European Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the League of Arab States and donor countries for their vital support to the electoral process and continuing humanitarian assistance,” said the statement.

Through it the UN chief also commended former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke for the work of the Federal Government of Somalia during their terms of office and for facilitating a smooth handover to the new President and his government.

A separate congratulatory statement was issued earlier on behalf of the UN, the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), IGAD, Ethiopia, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

“The international partners urge all political forces in Somalia to work together in support of President Farmajo and the incoming government,” the statement read.

Distributed by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the statement also noted the need for reconciliation and the peaceful resolution of a number of local conflicts, as well as the resumption of the constitutional review process.

The Somali Parliament selected the new president yesterday in two rounds of vote. A one-person, one-vote election is expected in 2020.

The international community welcomed the election results and commended outgoing Federal President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed and his Government for their “many achievements” over the past four years.

They also thanked him for a “gracious” concession speech that facilitated a peaceful and orderly transfer of power in decades.

“Yesterday's orderly and peaceful transfer of power is a major achievement for Somalia and should boost confidence in the country's future both at home and abroad,” said Michael Keating, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Somalia and head of UNSOM.

He added “Hambalyo Somalia” in Somali, which translates to “Congratulations Somalia.”


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