CALLING FOR PEACE MISSION, SOMALIA PRIME MINISTER TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL FAILURE TO ACT WOULD SEND WRONG SIGNAL TO PARTIES, RELIEF DONORS

22 October 2001
SC/7178/Corr.1

CALLING FOR PEACE MISSION, SOMALIA PRIME MINISTER TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL FAILURE TO ACT WOULD SEND WRONG SIGNAL TO PARTIES, RELIEF DONORS

22/10/2001
Press ReleaseSC/7178/Corr.1

Security Council

4392nd Meeting* (AM & PM)

CALLING FOR PEACE MISSION, SOMALIA PRIME MINISTER TELLS SECURITY COUNCIL

FAILURE TO ACT WOULD SEND WRONG SIGNAL TO PARTIES, RELIEF DONORS

CORRECTION

On page 15 of Press Release SC/7178 issued 19 October, the statement of Ethiopia should read as follows:

ABDUL MEJID HUSSEIN (Ethiopia) said that contrary to some comments that had been made today, there had been genuine efforts to establish a peace process that had preceded the Arta process.  Meetings had been held in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Libya and Yemen in the attempt to solve the question of Somalia.  Such attempts had led to the Arta process.  He stressed that Ethiopia had supported the Arta process from the beginning and continued to support it.  It was a step forward for peace and reconciliation in Somalia.  His Government had played an important role in trying to ensure that all parties were on board.

He called attention to the last IGAD Summit and noted that it was the first time a Somali head of State had taken his place at the African Summit.  The Summit had urged the Transitional Government to create an environment that would encourage those not participating in the Arta process.  It supported the use of dialogue in the place of force and affirmed the need for all measures to be taken to ensure that the territory of Somalia was not vulnerable to groups bent on destroying any stability in the region.  They had urgently called on the international community to support the Transitional Government, as long as it was committed to peace.  Those who had not taken part in the Arta process had to be on board.  The Transitional National Government had rejected the presence of some actors for unknown reasons, and the opposing factions had questioned the validity of the Transitional National Government.

Noting that Ethiopia had always been transparent and frank, he said the Transitional Government was not of one mind.  It had been suggested that Ethiopia should try to help to facilitate negotiations.  His Government was ready to do that, but there were some members of the Transitional National Government who were not comfortable with Ethiopia’s participation.  He stressed, however, that Ethiopia would not take sides, but would support the interests of the Somali people. In that context, he emphasized that the Arta process did not have the political support of everyone throughout Somalia.  Moreover, the Arta Charter had not said certain groups could not participate. 

He said there was hostility towards the Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council because Somalis meeting in Ethiopia had established it.  He welcomed the comments of the Prime Minister of Somalia, who had said that his Government would welcome the efforts of all countries that would facilitate the Arta process.  He did not agree, however, with the comment that to support the Somalia Restoration and Reconciliation Council was equivalent to reviving “warlordism”.  He called attention to the fact that, next to Somalia, the largest concentration of Somalis was in Ethiopia. 

In answer to the question about whether the international community should wait until all factions were aboard before beginning the Arta process, he said it should disregard all those who were not for peace.  He called on the Council to enforce the arms embargo and stressed that illegal arms were shipped to Somalia by air and sea.  Ethiopia had suffered terrorist attacks from groups who had received arms through Somalia.  The attacks had stopped only after Ethiopia had taken action against terrorist groups that resided in Somalia.  He had proof that terrorist groups connected to Al Qaeda were established in Somalia.  He declared that there were some in the Government who were part of the problem. 

Calling attention to the humanitarian needs resulting from the failure of the rains, which had left hundreds of thousands in distress, he said thousands had crossed into the Ethiopian part of the Somali region.  He called for international assistance to help the Somali people.  While the interests of the Somali people must be foremost, the Council must be positive when considering the legitimate concerns of bordering countries.  Kenya and Djibouti also had borders with Somalia. 

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For information media. Not an official record.