4487th Meeting* (AM and PM)
WIDE SUPPORT EXPRESSED IN SECURITY COUNCIL FOR PROPOSED PEACE, RECONCILIATION
CONFERENCE ON SOMALIA IN NAIROBI IN APRIL
However, Council Cautioned to Be Realistic about Outcome
Amid widespread support today for the proposal by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to hold a Peace and Reconciliation Conference for Somalia in Nairobi in April, the representative of the United Kingdom cautioned that there was a need to be realistic about what that Conference could achieve, stressing that it was only the first stage in a process and not the endgame.
He said the focus at Nairobi should be on resolving differences among the parties in the south and on finding solutions that would result in a broad-based government in Somalia. It was also important for the United Nations and other bodies not to make statements before the Conference that could prejudice the outcome. The only stable outcome would be what was generated and agreed upon by the parties themselves. He also warned that if Nairobi failed, and hostilities continued, the United Nations would need to consider appropriate action to address the situation on the ground in Somalia.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Transitional National Government of Somalia warned the Council not to prejudge the outcome of the upcoming reconciliation Conference in Nairobi. He also recommended sustained support for the proposed IGAD process since that would send a message to warlords that failure to participate in the Conference would have serious consequences.
Djibouti’s representative said it was the inaction, rivalry and jealousies, mixed signals and inconsistency of his region that were seriously hampering the full realization of the gains achieved by the people of Somalia at Arta. Such squabbles over Somalia’s destiny were taking place with little, if any, criticism from the international community. That was why Djibouti was not keen to qualify the conclusions of the Secretary-General, in the absence of coherent policy approaches on the part of the countries of the region. The time had come for the countries of the region to accept responsibility for the lack of resolution in the Somali conflict.
* The 4486th meeting was closed.
Colombia's representative said regional authorities already had an established role in the current Somali reconciliation process –- the international community and the United Nations must now play their respective roles. “We must also seek other alternatives for the United Nations to have a greater political presence on the ground”, he said. One option was to strengthen the role of the Council in Somalia. That should include more regular briefings and the creation of monitoring mechanisms to keep abreast of the situation on the ground.
Egypt's representative said the United Nations must be ready to face the challenges and dangers it might confront in Somalia. It could, therefore, not afford to wait until security conditions were perfect to proceed with deployment of a peace-building mission.
Also this morning many speakers expressed support for the Secretary-General’s initiative to set up two Groups of Friends of Somalia in Nairobi, Kenya, and New York. A number of other speakers also called on the Council to closely follow developments in Somalia if that country was to be prevented from becoming a refuge for terrorists. Other speakers expressed concern at the spread of small arms and light weapons in Somalia and stressed the need for monitoring mechanisms, tougher enforcement of arms embargoes and constructive contributions by neighbouring countries.
Another issue that nearly all speakers identified as requiring immediate attention was the perilous and constantly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Somalia. The international community and donors were called on to step up assistance, provide a safe environment for humanitarian workers and to ensure that immediate aid was given to Somalis in dire need of such aid. Somalis were also called on to allow unhindered and unrestricted access for all aid workers.
Statements were also made today by the representatives of Bulgaria, Singapore, Syria, China, France, Mauritius, Cameroon, Ireland, Guinea, United States, Russian Federation, Mexico, Jordan, Spain (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Libya, Kenya, Ethiopia and Norway.
The meeting began at 11:30 a.m., was suspended at 1:13 p.m. resumed at
3:39 p.m. and was adjourned at 4:56 p.m.
Before the Council was the Secretary-General's report on the situation in Somalia (document S/2002/189) between 11 October 2001 and 21 February 2002, in which he shares the cautious optimism of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) that despite the lack of major progress, a way forward can be found in that country's national reconciliation process. The way forward will require political will on the part of the Somali political leaders and the sustained encouragement and support of Somalia’s immediate neighbours, he adds.
Once security conditions permit, the United Nations will do all that is possible to achieve progress in Somalia, the Secretary-General states. However, the country remains among the most dangerous environments in which the Organization operates. Security conditions for United Nations staff vary radically from place to place and are difficult to predict. The inter-agency security assessment has confirmed that the security situation, particularly in Mogadishu, does not allow for a long-term United Nations presence and, therefore, precludes the launching of a comprehensive peace-building programme in Somalia.
The report points out that the humanitarian situation remains perilous and that years have been lost in terms of socio-economic and infrastructure development. Access to such strategic sites as airports and primary road networks and the safety of United Nations staff and assets are basic requirements for increased programme implementation. The Secretary-General calls on Somali leaders to assure the safety of United Nations staff and humanitarian workers in all parts of the country.
He says that pending the emergence of conditions conducive to the launching of a comprehensive peace-building programme, United Nations programmes will be expanded through humanitarian and development projects, as well as specific peace-building activities focusing on community-based peace-building, reduction of small arms, police training, quick impact projects aimed at improving security, and the intensification of dialogue on humanitarian and development issues.
While acknowledging the Security Council's recognition that the Arta peace process is the most viable basis for peace and national reconciliation, the Secretary-General states that the process is not only incomplete and reconciliation among the Somali parties stymied, but there was also a divergence of views among the IGAD member States regarding Somali national reconciliation.
However, he states that the ninth IGAD summit (10 to 11 January in Khartoum) refocused attention on national reconciliation in Somalia and reached an understanding regarding specific steps to be taken by the IGAD countries concerned. The IGAD decision also acknowledged that consensus among the country's neighbours is essential in order to support a way forward in the search for a more broad-based transitional arrangement.
According to the report, IGAD member countries and other States in the region should contribute constructively to peace efforts in Somalia. The United Nations, through its Political Office for Somalia and its agencies, stands ready to support the IGAD initiative. However, only Somalia’s leaders can decide to end the suffering of their people and to negotiate an end to the conflict.
The report states that the Secretary-General intends to establish a Committee of Friends of Somalia in Nairobi, chaired by his Special Representative. Another committee of similar composition ought to be established in New York and should meet periodically under the chairmanship of the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.
Regarding the internal political situation, the Secretary-General reports that several members of Somalia's Transitional National Assembly put forward a motion of no-confidence in the Transitional National Government on 12 October, accusing it of financial mismanagement, failing to improve the economic and security situation and failure to move the national reconciliation process forward. The motion was passed on 12 November. Subsequently, Minister of Water Resources Hassan Abshir Farah was named the new Prime Minister.
According to the report, the Transitional National Government has stated that the completion of the reconciliation process will be a top priority to be pursued through talks with faction leaders and regional administrations. The Prime Minister also held discussions with Jama Ali Jama, the new President of "Puntland". But the leader of "Somaliland", Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, continues to keep his distance from the Transitional National Government.
STEFAN TAFROV (Bulgaria) said the situation in Somalia, as highlighted in the current report of the Secretary-General, was fragile. The country was bereft of aid and in the hands of militias and warring factions. While there had been something of a stalemate over the last 10 months, the peace process was nevertheless now showing some positive signs. He welcomed the efforts at national reconciliation that were being undertaken by the transitional Government and other Somali parties.
While the solution to Somalia’s problems lay with the people themselves, it was critical for the Security Council to become involved in that solution, he said. He hoped that all Somalis would forge forward together in the quest for a peace process and lay aside their differences. He also stressed the need for an orderly approach to the peace process in Somalia. He said today’s meeting was also sending an important signal to Somalis to pursue peace.
His country supported the idea to set up a group called “Friends of Somalia”. In the context of the 11 September terrorist attacks, he said the Council must follow developments in Somalia if that country was to be prevented from becoming a refuge for terrorists. He also expressed his delegation’s concern over the spread of small arms and lights weapons in Somalia and stressed the need for constructive contributions by neighbouring countries. Bulgaria was also alarmed at the humanitarian situation in the country and urged donors to respond to inter-agency appeal. He called for aid workers to be given immediate access to critical areas in Somalia.
KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) said the problems facing Somalia could only be successfully solved by the people of the country themselves. At the same time, it was very helpful that Somalia’s neighbours, such as Djibouti, were also contributing to the peace process. It was important for the international community to take a firm stance on exactly what its role would be: were global actors going to do their utmost to provide assistance, or were they going to stand by and watch the situation deteriorate?
In the post-11 September environment, it was in the interest of the international community to encourage all States to extend every effort to build and maintain strong governments. He called for a comprehensive approach to dealing with the situation in Somalia, including particular attention to human rights questions and identifying long-term goals and objectives. Finally, he said that the freezing of the country’s assets had been problematic for the civilians living there. That question should be addressed immediately and accounts must be unfrozen to enable those responsible for the distribution of funds to do so.
MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria) associated his statement of that to be made by the representative of Jordan later in the meeting. On the situation in Somalia, he said the Council must do its utmost to discharge its duties – namely, maintaining international peace and security. On the Secretary-General’s report, he noted that Somalia was still recognized as one of the most dangerous States in which the United Nations was active. Syria supported the Secretary-General’s call for ensuring the safety of United Nations and other international personnel. He was concerned that the report did not seem to offer any suggestions as to why the overall situation in Somalia continued to deteriorate. There must be a way –- and hopefully the Council could identify some viable strategies during today’s discussion -- to move beyond the current deadlock in the country.
There was a need to formulate concrete strategies, such as forming a unified national army and identifying broad demobilization strategies, he said. Efforts should be made to establish a peace mission in the country. There was also a need to ensure that the transitional Government concentrated on humanitarian concerns. Overall, a comprehensive approach was required -– moving through peace-building to security. It was important not to let a few warlords continue to take advantage of the situation as it was. In that regard, the new Government needed help rebuilding the infrastructure through the provision of adequate resources to rehabilitate the country.
He hoped that any presidential statement of outcome from today’s meeting would offer concrete suggestions on several questions and that the Council would support the transitional Government’s efforts to complete national reconciliation; condemn the warlords who were a threat to peace and a roadblock to any attempts at such reconciliation; confirm the principles of territorial integrity of Somalia; and study setting up a mechanism for monitoring and verification to facilitate the work of the sanctions committee established under resolution 751.
He supported the setting up of a “Group of Friends” for Somalia. Such a group should ensure that national, regional or international initiatives did not conflict or overlap. The Council must be serious about ensuring peace in Somalia and bringing and end to the fighting there. That was the only way to put an end to the vicious cycle of violence. Issuing such a statement would help strengthen the efforts of the national government and send a positive message to the people of the region, in Somalia itself, and the international donor community. He added that the Council should try to rectify the problems surrounding the freezing of the assents of the Al Barakat Bank -- the “lungs” of the country’s economy so that that the life and well-being of the people could be ensured.
ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) said participation by the Security Council in the reconciliation process in Somalia had been very important so far and had contributed to the establishment of an interim Government. The decision of IGAD to hold a reconciliation process in April deserved all support. Regional authorities already had an established role in the current Somali reconciliation process –- the international community and the United Nations must now play their respective roles. “We must also seek other alternatives for the United Nations to have a greater political presence on ground”, he said. One option was to strengthen the role of the Security Council in Somalia. That should include more regular briefings and the creation of monitoring mechanisms to keep abreast of the situation on the ground.
He said the information on the continued circulation of small arms was alarming and pointed clearly to the widespread violation of the Security Council arms embargo in Somalia. There was a need to raise the efficiency of the arms embargo through the establishment of a monitoring mechanism. He stressed that the next report of the Secretary-General deal with that anomaly in greater depth.
He said that combating terrorism warranted the support of all States. There was also a need to devise more transparent remittance systems so that the Somalis could receive benefits and funds, which could not be diverted to support terrorism. Anarchy must not be allowed to triumph in Somalia.
WANG YINGFAN (China) said he appreciated and supported the encouraging developments in Somalia’s peace process. Peace lay in the hands of the parties themselves. Without the support of those parties, the peace process would remain on paper as just another strategy. He urged the Somalis to demonstrate the necessary goodwill to try to solve their problems through dialogue.
He said he hoped that the countries with the capacity to do so would exert positive influence over Somali factions and urge them to refrain from violence while looking for an early conclusion of the reconciliation initiatives. The United Nations should also follow the development of the situation in Somalia and be fully prepared to play the role required of it when peace was finally was achieved.
He called on Somali factions to ensure freedom of movement, as well as safety and security for humanitarian personnel. He hoped that the long-standing situation of ineffective implementation of sanctions would soon be reversed, and that international factions would cooperate to achieve that aim.
JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said that expressing full support for the efforts of the transitional Government in Somalia was the best way of ensuring the unity and territorial integrity there, a notion which the Council had continually advocated. The new Government must be given a chance, and, importantly, there must be a response to Somalia’s requests for help in the country’s fight against terrorism. The Council had expended a great deal of energy on the Somali crisis, resulting in numerous resolutions and two peacekeeping missions. Although he supported the “cautious optimism” in the Secretary-general’s report, he emphasized that now was not the time to relax.
In the new post-11 September context, it would be important to monitor the situation in Somalia closely, so it did not become another Afghanistan. Any efforts in that regard must follow internationally prescribed humanitarian norms. He urged the Council to address the situation of the country’s frozen bank assets immediately.
On the report itself and its relation to what the Council could do, he noted that France would be interested in establishing a “Group of Friends” for Somalia. It was also important that the Council reaffirm its commitment to certain principles. In that regard, the arms embargo must be made effective –- that would be an important way to ensure the survival of a country trapped in a cycle of violence. It was also essential to ensure that all efforts at disarmament, demobilization and reintegration were supported. Finally, the Council must be ready to send a peace-building mission to the country once security conditions allowed.
RAKESH BHUCKORY (Mauritius) expressed full support for the efforts of the transitional Government that had emerged form the ongoing peace process in Somalia. The Arta process remained the only viable framework to ensure the hopes of the Somali people for the future, and the Council must express its full support for that process. The Council must also support the transitional Government’s efforts at national reconciliation and at improving the security situation, as well as those concerning demobilization. He supported the proposal to re-establish a “Friends of Somalia” group, and it was imperative that members of such a group maintain a genuine vision for supporting the transitional Government’s efforts to move the national reconciliation process forward. The Council, as well as the wider international community, should fully support the IGAD Somalia Reconciliation Conference, scheduled to be held next month in Nairobi.
He called on donor countries to provide immediate assistance to offset the country’s deepening humanitarian crisis. It was unacceptable that the United Nations remained hostage to the whims of tribal warlords operating in Somalia. The intransigence of the warlords had been exacerbated by the easy availability of small arms and light weapons. The purveyors of such arms must be identified and prosecuted. Moreover, the arms embargo must be enforced, as it had become obvious that while the Council and other international actors had been working to maintain peace and security in Somalia, there were other actors working within the country and region to opposite ends.
Indeed, maintaining peace and security within Somalia was the international community’s main goal there. Now that a peace process appeared to be on track, it was important to ensure that the police and security forces were strengthened. He urged the relevant United Nations development agencies to take up that issue as soon as possible. Doing so would send a message that the international community was concerned by the plight of the Somali people. It would also tell the warlords that it was no longer in their interest to continue trying to destabilize the country.
FELIX MBAYU (Cameroon) said that after today’s debate the Council should consider and stress a number of points, vis-à-vis Somalia. The first was maintaining and strengthening national dialogue among all the Somali factions. The second was the imperative of strengthening the national reconciliation process with a view to bringing about a fully representative broad-based government, while preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. The third was the adoption of specific steps for socio-economic recovery and the consolidation of sustainable peace in the country.
He said another key point was the need for material and financial support for the promising activities by the World Health organization (WHO) and Doctors without Borders on the ground. He also called for a strengthening of the economic recovery efforts and emphasized combating illiteracy, establishing the rule of law, encouraging disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and promoting respect for human rights.
Somalis must demonstrate tolerance and patience, as well as a will to engage in dialogue, he stressed. His country supported the IGAD initiative to bring all Somali factions together at a national reconciliation conference in the second half of April. He also expressed support for the Secretary-General’s initiative to set up two Groups of Friends of Somalia in Nairobi, Kenya, and New York.
GERARD CORR (Ireland), associating himself with the European Union, said his country was particularly encouraged that there was now agreement on a unified regional approach, which offered a glimmer of hope for Somalia. While only the country's leaders could end the Somali people's suffering, that would not be possible without a coordinated, constructive approach on the part of its neighbours.
He said the forthcoming National Reconciliation Conference would be an historic opportunity for all Somali parties to put the interests of the population ahead of all power struggles and partisan motives. In addition, the international community had an unambiguous responsibility to look beyond the limitations imposed by the current security situation to help create the circumstances in which the United Nations could become more fully engaged in Somalia.
The presidential statement adopted in October called for proposals on how the United Nations could further assist in demobilization of militia members and the training of police personnel from the Transitional National Government, he recalled. The Council should also consider the need to give greater effect to the arms embargo on Somalia. Ireland strongly supported strengthening enforcement of the sanctions regime through an appropriate mechanism, as it was clear that the regime in place for the last 10 years had not been enforced.
BOUBACAR DIALLO (Guinea) said it was imperative and urgent for all Somali parties to join in the quest for peace. His delegation welcomed the decision to hold, in April in Nairobi, a reconciliation meeting that would involve all Somali players. He said there could be no doubt whatever that what had been achieved in Somalia was in sharp contrast to the suffering experienced by the people of that country since 1990. In that light, it was imperative to strengthen the arms embargo, and enhance disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes.
He expressed alarm at the food situation in Somalia and appealed to the international community to mobilize resources that would make it possible to alleviate the suffering of Somalis.
He underscored that now was the time for Somalis to end the fratricidal conflict that had gone on for such a long time. His delegation was convinced of the role that the United Nations could play in bringing recovery to the people of Somalia and supported the Secretary-General’s idea of setting up a “Group of Friends of Somalia”.
RICHARD WILLIAMSON (United States) said his country pledged to work with all Somalis dedicated to the fight against terrorism, maintaining peace and security in the region, and ensuring that humanitarian objectives were upheld. He shared the concern of the Secretary-General at the lack of progress towards national reconciliation. He was further gravely concerned at the dire situation that faced humanitarian workers in Somalia, particularly the recent kidnapping of a United Nations aid worker. Such a lack of security for humanitarian workers and continued violence against them was disconcerting because the overall humanitarian situation in Somalia and the region was continuing to deteriorate.
Commenting on the Secretary-General's report, he supported the establishment of a "group of friends" for Somalia, in both New York and Nairobi. He agreed with the recommendation of the inter-agency fact-finding office that now was not the time to establish a peace-building office at Mogadishu. He believed that officials in those joint departments, in conjunction with United Nations security officials, were the best persons to make such a judgement.
The United States would continue to be vigilant concerning all attempts to use Somalia as a base for terrorism. To that end, strict adherence to resolution 1373 also would prevent destabilization within the region. All States had a continuing obligation to ensure the implementation of resolution 733 on an arms embargo. The United States supported Somali and regional efforts at national reconciliation, as well as efforts to defy those that wanted to exploit the country as a base for terrorism. He urged all parties in Somalia to attend the upcoming Nairobi reconciliation meeting without reservations and called on all neighbouring States to urge Somalia to participate and to actively contribute to regional security.
Finally, he said the fate of Somalia was in the hands of the people of the country themselves. It was time for the people to put the failures of the past behind, to turn away from warlordism and work together for a new Somalia. At the same time, the international community must do its part to ensure reconciliation and economic development.
ANDREY GRANOVSKY (Russian Federation) said he agreed with the cautious optimism expressed in the Secretary-General's report on the outcome of the recent IGAD summit. He was hopeful that a basis for harmonizing various peace efforts was under way. It was now the task of the Council and the wider international community to support countries in the region to enhance cooperation with IGAD. Russia also supported the provision of material and political assistance to the collective efforts of the IGAD countries and the Somalis themselves. On the issue of creating a "friends of Somalia" group, he said, naturally, such a group should be comprised of members of all countries, as well as Council members, committed to assisting efforts to make concrete and positive change in Somalia.
He drew attention to the section of the report that dealt with combating international terrorism. While it was clear that many countries, including Russia, deplored the threat of terrorism, it was important to understand the limited abilities of Somalia's new Government to address such threats. To that end, it was the responsibility of the international community and the Council to provide Somalia with help to neutralize any terrorist threat. It was important to remember, however, that eradicating terrorism would be impossible unless there was restoration of peace throughout the country.
ALISTAIR HARRISON (United Kingdom) said there was a need to be realistic about what the proposed Nairobi Peace and Reconciliation Conference could achieve and stressed that it was only the first stage in a process and not the endgame. The focus at that conference should be on resolving differences among the parties in the south and on finding solutions that would result in a broad-based government. It was also important for the United Nations and other bodies to not make statements before Nairobi that could prejudice the outcome. The only stable outcome would be what was generated and agreed upon by the parties themselves.
He said that while a United Nations office in Somalia would be useful, one should respect the Secretary-General's judgement on the safety of personnel. His delegation was also concerned about the proliferation of arms supplies to Somalia. States engaged in that were in breach of Council directives and responsible for fuelling the gun culture that was so rampant in that country. He urged IGAD and other bodies to do more to provide practical benefits to the people of that country. Also, he warned that if Nairobi failed, and hostilities continued, the United Nations would need to consider appropriate action to address the situation on the ground.
ADOLFO AGUILAR ZINSER (Mexico) said the issue of Somalia had been a source of long-standing concern to the United Nations, and initiatives had either failed or had not yielded the essential goals of peace, development, harmony and understanding in the country. Those failures, however, were not grounds for either the Council or the United Nations to excuse themselves of their responsibilities and commitments to Somalia. The analysis of the conflict situation in Somalia had made it necessary for this item to stay before the Council and to continue to receive its attention.
One of the most urgent issues now was to focus efforts on humanitarian assistance to Somalia and to take care of the very significant part of the Somali population that required such aid. That was a priority for the United Nations. Humanitarian work and development, however, hinged on the security that would be provided in Somalia. Food security and the trafficking in small arms and light weapons were other key issues that needed to be addressed, he added, noting that despite an embargo on weapons, the conflict continued with a sanctions regime that had been rendered ineffective.
He underscored that it was indefatigable duty of the Council to see that obstacles to peace in Somalia were removed.
ZEID RA’AD ZEID AL-HUSSEIN (Jordan), speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, said it was imperative to ensure peace and security to Somalia. Maintaining stability in Somalia and strengthening its transitional Government would promote the country’s sovereignty and national integrity. The Council and the wider international community must avoid anything that would hamper the national reconciliation process and be particularly vigilant concerning international interference in Somalia’s affairs. He welcomed the upcoming IGAD reconciliation conference, scheduled to be held in Nairobi next month, as a unique opportunity to continue broad efforts to restore peace and tranquillity to Somalia.
He hoped the Council would continue to convene meetings on Somalia and continue monitoring the overall situation there. He applauded the Council’s initiative to send a fact-finding mission to the country. His delegation was in favour of setting up a mechanism to monitor the arms embargo in Somalia. He also hoped that Jordan could be included in the establishment of the “group of friends” for Somalia that had been suggested in the Secretary-Generals’ report.
INOCENCIO F. ARIAS (Spain) spoke for the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Turkey and Iceland. He said the future of Somalia depended first of all on the Somalis themselves. For its part, the international community should assist the Somalis in reversing the dangerous and unique situation of Somalia, which had been without State structures for more than a decade. The Union supported a unified approach to the peace process and greater coherency in policy to achieve a comprehensive and lasting settlement.
He welcomed the decision taken by the IGAD Foreign Ministers Committee on Somalia to convene a national reconciliation conference in April. The parties must put aside their differences and participate in the dialogue without preconditions and with a genuine resolve to broaden and complete the national reconciliation process.
He called once again on the countries involved and other actors to comply with the arms embargo established by Council resolution 733 (1992). All States, in particular, those of the region, must abstain from any military involvement in Somalia. Noting the recommendations contained in the Secretary-General's report, especially those related to security conditions, he said it was nonetheless clear that active United Nations involvement in the peace process was absolutely essential. Ways in which the United Nations and the international community could contribute to breaking the cycle of insecurity in Somalia must be examined.
AHMED ABOUL GHEIT (Egypt) said the Council's efforts should be focused on completing the Arta process and the promotion of national reconciliation through encouraging all Somali factions to join in IGAD's efforts. The Council should invite States that had a bearing on the parties to exercise their influence in a constructive manner to guarantee the participation of all Somali parties in the upcoming reconciliation conference.
Efforts aimed at achieving national reconciliation were still being held hostage by the warlords in Somalia, as well as by the armed hostilities that erupted in different parts of the country from time to time, he said. If the international community was unable to take any concrete steps to disarm and demobilize the militia elements opposed to the peace process, especially in Mogadishu, then at the very least the Council should enforce the arms embargo imposed by its resolution 733 (1992).
He said the United Nations must be ready to face the challenges and dangers it might confront in Somalia. It could not afford to wait until the perfect security conditions were prevalent to proceed with deployment of a peace-building mission. He added that he welcomed the Secretary-General's recommendation to establish a Committee of Friends for Somalia.
ROBLE OLHAYE (Djibouti) said it was significant that the report of the Secretary-General described a “divergence of views” among member States of IGAD regarding national reconciliation in Somalia. From a regional perspective, the question was, therefore, whether that divergence was compounding Somalia’s woes and further complicating the reconciliation efforts, despite a keen desire by the Somali people for peace. Also, would the countries of the region come to terms with the reality that the Somalis had had sufficient squabbles and divisions of their own for so long that they hardly needed to be mired by different regional interests.
He said the longer and deeper instability and insecurity were allowed to fester and persist in Somalia, the greater was the risk of warfare in the region. The international community had turned a blind eye to brutality and bloodshed in that country for so long that it was now grappling with the lessons of its past mistakes. If it was not brought to an end sooner rather than later, continued instability in Somalia would exacerbate conditions that made the Horn of Africa one of the most impoverished regions in the world. No one could doubt, therefore, that Somalia’s difficulties had regional dimensions, represented a menace to regional peace, and complicated efforts to find a lasting peace across that part of Africa.
“We cannot truly speak of reconciliation in Somalia as long as IGAD member countries are pursuing varying and opposing goals, both with regard to what it takes to achieve peace and reconciliation in Somalia, and what the final outcome will look like”, he said. The clearest testimony yet to the region’s contradictory and self-defeating policies had been the relentless equivocation and systematic negation of the outcome of Arta.
He said the transitional Government in Somalia was a fledgling, nascent administration that inherited nothing but chaos, destruction and empty coffers. As such, countries in the region owed Somalia every bit of compassion, material and moral support without strings attached. To a great extent, everything depended on the unambiguous, clear and shared vision of the region. In the absence, however, of a current supportive policy from his own region, it was highly unlikely that the donor community, the United Nations and international organizations would become involved in “our backyard” other than for humanitarian reasons. And that was precisely what had been happening since the establishment of the Transitional National Government.
It was, therefore, the inaction, rivalry and jealousies, mixed signals and inconsistency of his region that were seriously hampering the full realization of the gains achieved by the people of Somalia at Arta. Such squabbles over Somalia’s destiny were taking place with little, if any, criticism from the international community. That was why Djibouti was not keen to qualify the conclusions of the Secretary-General, in the absence of coherent policy approaches on the part of the countries of the region. His country believed that the time had come for the countries of the Horn of Africa to accept responsibility for the lack of resolution in the Somali conflict.
ABUZED OMAR DORDA (Libya) said the conclusion of the report of the Secretary-General did not fit in with comprehensive review that came before. For example, the report reminded the Council that it had stated that the Arta peace process was the most viable foundation for peace and national reconciliation in Somalia. The question to be asked then was what had Arta produced? The answer was the Transitional National Government. It would then proceed logically that, as long as Arta was the most viable foundation for Somalia, it must naturally be built upon to complete the peace process in Somalia.
For Africans, the whole issue was a phony one fraught with international relations double standards, he said. Many other issues, East Timor, for example, had been given fair treatment. There, implementation was monitored daily if not hourly. But that was not the case in Africa. Was that continent not a part of the United Nations? Was Somalia not a Member, and were the 52 African States -- almost one third of the Organization, not Members as well? In addition, three quarters of the Council’s activities pertained to Africa. If stability were to be found in Somalia, then the Arta foundation must be built upon.
He said it would be illogical to leave Somalia to Somalis. Some of those Somalis were responsible for the situation in country today. How could those who benefited from war freely let go of their benefits, which would continue as long as the situation remained the same? The international community must truly stand shoulder to shoulder with the Transitional National Government or the warlords would continue their warlike activities in the country. The transitional Government must be enabled to exert and expand its authority. It was transitional, and when its period ended, the people would be able to choose their legitimate Government in the ballot box. But until then, the Transitional National Government must be supported in the Council or peace would not return to Somalia.
BOB JALANG’O (Kenya) said IGAD had charged his country with the responsibility of coordinating the efforts towards reconciliation in Somalia. To that end, he drew the Council’s attention to agreements signed at the December IGAD meeting between the Somali transitional Government and, respectively, the United Somali Congress/Somali Salvation Alliance, and the Somali National Alliance. Those agreements indicated that the peace and reconciliation process was gaining momentum. All parties to the conflict in Somalia were expected to attend the upcoming national reconciliation conference next month.
Turning to the report before the Council, he said the Secretary-General had detected divergent views among IGAD member States regarding the overall national reconciliation process in Somalia. While that might have appeared to be the case in the past, Kenya, as the process coordinator, wished to assure the Council that much progress had been made. Indeed, it appeared that views were coming closer together rather than moving farther apart. To hasten the process, IGAD’s Foreign Ministers had established a technical committee comprised of front-line States and the IGAD secretariat, with a permanent secretariat in Nairobi. He added that that committee needed support.
IGAD member States welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal to establish a “Group of Friends” of Somalia, to be based in Nairobi and in New York, he said. Overall, it was evident that with intensified international focus on Somalia it was now up to the people of Somalia to demonstrate the maturity to take advantage of such goodwill. As a neighbour of Somalia, Kenya would continue to discharge its fraternal duty to provide assistance. Moreover, Kenya had no doubt that all parties involved, including the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the United Nations and the IGAD Partners Forum, would go the extra mile to assist Somalia during the current peace process, particularly in the areas of humanitarian assistance and improvement of general security. Undoubtedly, neighbours and friends of Somalia would continue to play a constructive and impartial role to help overcome the long-standing problems caused by Somalia’s lack of a central government.
FESSEHA TESSEMA (Ethiopia) said the situation in Somalia required a comprehensive approach. The establishment of a broad-based government there, as urgently as possible, was not only in the interest of the Somali people themselves, but also in the vital interest of the wider international community. Moreover, the establishment of such a government was at the heart of the IGAD peace process. He believed the consensus achieved by IGAD member countries at various meetings and conferences had provided the basis for enhanced coordination and cooperation to achieve peace in Somalia.
He went on to express hope that the IGAD members and the wider international community recognized the necessity of the establishment of a broad-based government in Somalia. There was really no other option. Throughout the past
11 years, various peace efforts in Somalia had been hampered by parties with a stake in maintaining the status quo or that benefited from anarchy. That hindrance, which external actors were either unwilling or unable to address, must come to an end. All parties must commit to a viable government.
To that end, he called upon all Somali parties and groups to participate equally and without preconditions in the forthcoming IGAD Foreign Ministers Committee meeting in Nairobi. All parties should work to bring the crisis to an end. Ethiopia was fully committed to supporting such a positive outcome, particularly as it would enhance efforts to establish an inclusive government. Ethiopia called on all States in and outside the subregion to contribute constructively to the peace efforts in Somalia and appealed to the Council to continue its support of the IGAD peace process and other regional initiatives.
Council President, OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway), in his national capacity, expressed his country’s support to the Arta peace process, which continued to be the most viable way to achieve peace and stability in Somalia. However, the final objective of the Arta process had yet to be achieved, and he urged all parties in Somalia and within the wider international community to encourage dialogue with a view to establishing an all-inclusive and broad-based government in Somalia. He also expressed support for the upcoming reconciliation conference in Nairobi as an important step in laying the foundation for the work ahead in that regard.
Despite such cautious optimism, he was deeply concerned by recent violence in Mogadishu. It was more important than ever to ensure broad adherence to the prescriptions laid out in the arms embargo. Moreover, revitalizing the arms embargo through the establishment of a monitoring body was also critical. Norway was also concerned at the deepening humanitarian crisis in various regions of Somalia, including Mogadishu, as well as the constant threat to humanitarian aid workers. Still, he was heartened by the fact that United Nations aid workers, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) staff, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations continued to work diligently throughout the country.
He called on all parties in Somalia to guarantee the safety and freedom of movement of United Nations and other humanitarian personnel. He further called on all parties and regional actors to contribute to peaceful development in the Horn of Africa. All States should respond to the 2002 Inter-Agency Appeal, he said.
YUSUF HASSAN IBRAHIM, Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Transitional National Government of Somalia, thanked Council members and non-members for their constructive suggestions and recommendations throughout the day-long meeting. He
warned, however, that the outcome of the upcoming national reconciliation meeting should not be prejudged negatively. He went on to suggest that a “multiple track” approach to the security situation in his country was needed, which included, among other things, providing the transitional Government with the necessary resources and tools to enhance the security situation in Mogadishu and other areas, as well as sustained and continuos contribution to the campaign against terrorism.
He also said such an approach would also require sustained support of the IGAD peace process, which, in turn, would send a message to the warlords that failure to participate constructively in the negotiations would result in serious consequences. All efforts and initiatives should be forward-looking, with an eye to eventually putting in place a massive reconstruction and rehabilitation programme for Somalia. For its part, the transitional Government would continue to peruse peace and reconciliation and cooperation with all efforts to end terrorism.
* *** *