SECURITY COUNCIL STATEMENT REAFFIRMS COUNCIL’S COMMITMENT TO PEACE IN SOMALIA

11 January 2001
SC/6985

SECURITY COUNCIL STATEMENT REAFFIRMS COUNCIL’S COMMITMENT TO PEACE IN SOMALIA

11/01/2001
Press ReleaseSC/6985

Security Council

4255th Meeting (PM)

SECURITY COUNCIL STATEMENT REAFFIRMS COUNCIL’S COMMITMENT TO PEACE IN SOMALIA

The Security Council this afternoon reaffirmed its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation on Somalia, consistent with United Nations Charter principles and with respect for Somalia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity. 

In a statement read out by its President, Kishore Mahbubani (Singapore), the Council expressed support for the Arta peace conference on Somalia held in Djibouti last year, and for the establishment of the Transitional National Assembly and the Transitional National Government which resulted from that conference.

It strongly urged all political groups, in particular those which remained outside the Arta peace process, to engage in peaceful and constructive dialogue with the Transitional National Government, to promote national reconciliation and to facilitate the democratic elections scheduled for 2003 as called for in the Transitional National Charter.

The Council called upon all groups, particularly armed movements, to support and participate in the demobilization efforts undertaken by the Transitional National Government.  It encouraged the Transitional National Government to continue, in a spirit of constructive dialogue, the process of engaging all groups in the country, including in the north-eastern and north-western areas, to prepare for the installation of permanent governance arrangements through the democratic process.

The Council invited the Secretary-General to prepare a proposal for a peace-building mission for Somalia with an outline of possible ways to advance the peace process in the country further.  It welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to put in place a trust fund for peace-building in Somalia.

Emphasizing the importance of respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, the Council noted with concern the fragile humanitarian and security situation in several parts of Somalia, including Mogadishu, and strongly condemned attacks by armed groups on civilians and humanitarian personnel.

It called upon all Somalis to respect fully the security and safety of United Nations personnel and those of its specialized agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and of non-governmental organizations, and to guarantee their complete freedom of movement and safe access throughout Somalia.

The Council called upon the United Nations, its Member States and specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations, as well as the Bretton

Woods institutions, to assist in addressing reconstruction and development challenges facing Somalia.  It also called for urgent assistance, particularly in the areas of demobilization, disarmament and rehabilitation of basic infrastructure.

The Council urged States to take the necessary steps to fully implement and enforce the arms embargo it imposed by resolution 733 (1992) of 23 January 1992, and strongly condemned the illegal supply of weapons to recipients in the country. It reiterated its call upon all States, the United Nations, and other international organizations and entities to report on possible violations of the arms embargo to the Committee established under resolution 751 (1992) of 24 April 1992 to monitor compliance with those measures.

The Council insisted that all States should refrain from any military intervention in the internal situation in Somalia, and that the territory of Somalia should not be used to undermine stability in the subregion.

The meeting, which began at 5:05 p.m., adjourned at 5:13 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as S/PRST/2001/1, is as follows:

“The Security Council notes with appreciation the Secretary-General’s report of 19 December 2000 on the situation in Somalia (S/2000/1211) and reaffirms its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia, consistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, bearing in mind respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia.

“The Security Council welcomes and supports the outcome of the Arta peace conference, the establishment of the Transitional National Assembly and the Transitional National Government.  It expresses gratitude for the efforts undertaken by the Government and people of Djibouti in convening the peace conference.  Furthermore, itrecognizes with appreciation the impetus provided to the process by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), including the mandate extended by the ministerial meeting in Djibouti in March 2000.

“The Security Council further welcomes the efforts of the Transitional National Government to promote reconciliation within Somalia.  It strongly urges all political groups in the country, in particular those which have remained outside the Arta peace process, to engage in peaceful and constructive dialogue with the Transitional National Government in order to promote national reconciliation and facilitate the democratic elections scheduled for 2003 as called for in the Transitional National Charter.  It further calls upon all groups, in particular armed movements, to support and participate in the demobilization efforts undertaken by the Transitional National Government.  It encourages the Transitional National Government to continue, in a spirit of constructive dialogue, the process of engaging all groups in the country, including in the north-eastern and north-western areas, with the view to preparing for the installation of permanent governance arrangements through the democratic process.

“The Security Council underlines the massive challenges facing Somalia with respect to reconstruction and development, and the immediate need for urgent assistance, particularly in the areas of demobilization (with special attention to measures to combat HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases), disarmament and rehabilitation of basic infrastructure.  It calls upon the United Nations, its Member States and specialized agencies, non-governmental organizations, as well as the Bretton Woods institutions, to assist in addressing these challenges.

“The Security Council, emphasizing the importance of respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, notes with concern that the humanitarian and security situation remains fragile in several parts of Somalia, including Mogadishu.  It strongly condemns attacks by armed groups on civilians and humanitarian personnel and calls upon all Somalis to respect fully the security and safety of personnel of the United Nations and its specialized agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and of non-governmental organizations, and to guarantee their complete freedom of movement and safe access throughout Somalia.

“The Security Council reiterates to all States their obligation to comply with the measures imposed by resolution 733 (1992) of 23 January 1992 and urges each State to take the necessary steps to ensure full implementation and enforcement of the arms embargo.  It strongly condemns the illegal supply of weapons to recipients in Somalia.  It reiterates its call upon all States, the United Nations and other international organizations and entities to report to the Committee established by resolution 751 (1992) of 24 April 1992 information on possible violations of the arms embargo.

“The Security Council insists that all States should refrain from any military intervention in the internal situation in Somalia and that the territory of Somalia should not be used to undermine the stability in the subregion.

“The Security Council welcomes the Secretary-General’s intention to put in place a trust fund for peace building in Somalia.  It notes that despite the recent positive developments in Somalia, the security situation in the country is still a cause for serious concern.  The Security Council, therefore, invites the Secretary-General to prepare a proposal for a peace-building mission for Somalia. Such a proposal should, with specific attention to the security situation in the country, outline possible ways to advance the peace process further.

“The Security Council remains seized of the matter.”

Secretary-General’s Report

As it considered the situation in Somalia this afternoon, the Security Council had before it the Secretary-General's latest report (document S/2000/1211), dated 19 December 2000, covering developments in that country since his last report (document S/1999/882), submitted on 16 August 1999.

Welcoming the peace initiative by Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, he states his readiness to prepare a proposal for a peace-building mission for Somalia in the light of the President's request of 14 September 2000.  A key function of such a mission, expected to be based inside Somalia, would be to assist in the completion of the peace process.  The Office of the United Nations Security Coordinator would be closely involved in elaborating options for the relocation of the United Nations in Somalia.

The Secretary-General notes that the Djibouti initiative, launched in September 1999, has the support of the subregional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the European Union.

Among key players in the Somalia issue are the Transitional National Government, elected in August 1999 by the Transitional National Assembly, with Abdikassim Salad Hassan as President and Ali Khalif Galaydh as Prime Minister.  Other groups, some of whom oppose the peace initiative, include the Somali Peace Alliance (SPA), comprising leaders of the “Puntland” and “Somaliland” regions, the Somali Consultative Body, the Rahanwein Resistance Army (RRA), and the Somali National Front; and factions led by Hussein Mohamed Farrah Aidid and Osman Hassan Ali "Atto".

In his report, the Secretary-General says that given the current security situation, locating United Nations staff in the capital, Mogadishu, would be possible only after a single, effective authority for the city has been established.  It would be a good sign if full traffic operations were restored in both the seaport and airport, and if free and safe access to all districts were guaranteed, with no "green lines" to cross.

The Secretary-General notes that banditry is rampant in Mogadishu, with no single authority responsible for the maintenance of law and order.  The seaport, airport, former government blocks, the main city market, and other significant parts of the city are still under the control of different militias.  The Transitional National Government has only limited control of Greater Mogadishu, and one of its members was killed on 12 November at his residence in an apparent political assassination.

Several Somali aid workers have lost their lives during the period under review, the report states.  Among them were Qasim Aden Egal, a World Health Organization (WHO) employee in Hargeisa; Farah Ali Gurhan, administrator of the Dutch non-governmental organization Memisa, in Garbaharey; and Ayub Yarrow Abdiyow, a senior health official.  Two national World Food Programme (WFP) officers were fired upon at El Bur in the Galgadud region, but were withdrawn safely from the area.

Others who lost their lives, the report continues, were British citizen Alan MacLean, allegedly killed by pirates while sailing off Somalia's north-east coast, and Dieter Krasemann of the German Technical Cooperation Agency, who was killed at Burao in “Somaliland”.  An aircraft used by European Union humanitarian programmes was struck by ground fire as it landed at the compound of an Italian non-governmental organization at Merka.

In addition, the report states, Françoise Deutsch, a French national, and John Ward, a Briton -- both working for the Paris-based international non-governmental organization Action contre la faim -- were kidnapped and held hostage in Mogadishu.  They were released following negotiations reportedly involving President Hassan and his security advisers.

Reporting on humanitarian conditions in Somalia, including the effect of the drought lasting from the end of 1999 through the first quarter of 2000, the Secretary-General notes that humanitarian needs have decreased significantly across most of the country since last June, due primarily to favourable environmental conditions.  As a result, the estimated number of Somalis facing food insecurity had declined from 750,000 to less than 400,000.  But while it is still too soon to declare an end to the cycle of crises, which have rendered millions vulnerable to uncertain climatic, economic and security conditions, the lull in relief requirements enables aid agencies to focus on emergency prevention and support for emergency preparedness.

According to the report, the Djibouti process was intended to have a broader basis and greater legitimacy than previous peacemaking efforts.  Elders from all parts of Somalia, clan representatives and -- for the first time -- Somali women were involved in discussions on how to embark on the road to peace.  The Transitional National Government is now located in Mogadishu.  It has begun establishing itself on Somali soil and expanding the areas under its influence.

The Transitional National Government has until 2003 to prepare for the installation of permanent governance arrangements, the report states.  During that period, the authorities will have to address basic political, economic and development challenges and to complete the task of creating a government of unity and reconciliation, as well as prepare for democratic elections.  At the same time, massive challenges of reconstruction and development confront Somalia. 

Two immediate challenges face the Transitional National Government, in the absence of some Somali politicians and leaders from the Djibouti initiative, the report concludes:  how to incorporate those opposed to the peace process, some of whom are heavily armed; and how to work out relations with the authorities in “Puntland” and “Somaliland” without jeopardizing the relative peace and stability in those two regions.

The report also details the widespread support for the peace process among Somalis from all walks of life, the reactions of Somali leaders to the Djibouti initiative, the activities of the Transitional National Assembly and Transitional National Government, and the role of the United Nations.

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For information media. Not an official record.