SECURITY COUNCIL REITERATES FIRM SUPPORT FOR SOMALI RECONCILIATION PROCESS, WELCOMES DECLARATION SIGNED IN NAIROBI AS ‘IMPORTANT STEP’ TOWARDS PEACE

25 February 2004
SC/8007

SECURITY COUNCIL REITERATES FIRM SUPPORT FOR SOMALI RECONCILIATION PROCESS, WELCOMES DECLARATION SIGNED IN NAIROBI AS ‘IMPORTANT STEP’ TOWARDS PEACE

25/02/2004
Press ReleaseSC/8007

Security Council                                           

4915th Meeting (PM)                                        

SECURITY COUNCIL REITERATES FIRM SUPPORT FOR SOMALI RECONCILIATION PROCESS,

WELCOMES DECLARATION SIGNED IN NAIROBI AS ‘IMPORTANT STEP’ TOWARDS PEACE

The Security Council this afternoon, reiterating its firm support for the reconciliation process in Somalia, welcomed the recent signing of a declaration aimed at harmonizing issues as “an important step towards lasting peace”, and called on Somali parties to build on that progress and swiftly conclude the National Reconciliation Conference by establishing a viable transitional government.

In a statement read out by its President, Wang Guangya (China), the Council urged all the signatories to that agreement, who met in consultative meetings from 9 to 29 January in Nairobi, Kenya, to fully abide by their commitment and move the peace process forward.  The Council also called on the Somali parties to continue working towards a comprehensive security arrangement, reiterating that the Eldoret Declaration of 27 October 2002 on cessation of hostilities should be implemented expeditiously.

The Council condemned those who obstructed the peace process, stressing that those who persisted on the path of confrontation and conflict would be held accountable.  It also stressed the urgent need for a comprehensive ceasefire throughout Somalia and called on the Somali parties to fully implement the ceasefire, to ensure security and to resolve their differences through peaceful means.

Welcoming the African Union’s preparation to deploy a military observer mission to Somalia, the Council called upon the international community to support the African Union’s efforts to improve the security situation in Somalia.  Reiterating its concern over the continued flow of weapons and ammunition supplies to Somalia, the Council welcomed the establishment of the Monitoring Group pursuant to resolution 1519 (2003) of 16 December 2003, and called on relevant States and entities to comply with the arms embargo.

The Council requested the Secretary-General, in his next report, to suggest ways to develop the United Nations role in support of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-facilitated Somali reconciliation process.

The meeting was called to order at 1:10 p.m. and adjourned at 1:17 p.m.

Presidential Statement

The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as S/PRST/2004/3, reads as follows:

“The Security Council, recalling its previous decisions concerning the situation in Somalia, in particular the statement of its President of 11 November 2003 (S/PRST/2003/19) and welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of February 2004 (S/2004/115), reaffirms its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia, and its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of the country, consistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

“The Security Council reiterates its firm support for the Somali national reconciliation process and the ongoing Somali National Reconciliation Conference in Kenya, launched under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

“The Security Council commends President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, other leaders of IGAD, and international supporters of the Somali National Reconciliation Conference for their perseverance to help Somalis reach national reconciliation.

“The Security Council welcomes the signing, on 29 January 2004, of the Declaration on the Harmonization of the Various Issues by the Somali Delegates at the Somali Consultative Meetings, held from 9 to 29 January 2004 in Nairobi, as an important step towards lasting peace and reconciliation in Somalia, and urges all signatories to the agreement to fully abide by their commitment to take forward the peace process.

“The Security Council calls upon the Somali parties to build on the progress achieved and swiftly conclude the Somali National Reconciliation Conference with a durable and inclusive solution to the conflict in Somalia by establishing a viable transitional government.

“The Security Council reiterates that the Somali parties should abide by and implement expeditiously the Eldoret Declaration of 27 October 2002 on cessation of hostilities, and calls on the Somali parties to continue working towards a comprehensive security arrangement for Somalia.

“The Security Council stresses the urgent need for a comprehensive ceasefire throughout Somalia, and that the Somali parties themselves bear the responsibility of achieving it.  The Council calls on the Somali parties to fully implement the ceasefire, to ensure security, and to resolve their differences through peaceful means.

“The Security Council condemns those who obstruct the peace process, and stresses that those who persist on the path of confrontation and conflict will be held accountable.  The Council will continue to monitor the situation closely.

“The Security Council calls upon all neighbouring States to continue their endeavour to participate fully and constructively for the success of the Somali National Reconciliation Process and the attainment of peace in region.

“The Security Council welcomes the commitment and preparation of the African Union to deploy a military observer mission to Somalia, and calls upon the international community to support the African Union’s efforts to improve the security situation in Somalia.

“The Security Council calls on the international community to continue its efforts to support IGAD in its facilitation of the Somali National Reconciliation Conference, and calls on the donor countries to contribute to the Conference, the United Nations Trust Fund for Peace-building in Somalia and the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Somalia.

“The Security Council expresses serious concern regarding the humanitarian situation in Somalia, and calls on the Somalia leaders to facilitate the delivery of much-needed humanitarian assistance and to assure the safety of all international and national aid workers.

“The Security Council reiterates its concern over the continued flow of weapons and ammunition supplies to Somalia, welcomes the establishment of the Monitoring Group pursuant to resolution 1519 (2003) of 16 December 2003, and calls on relevant States and entities to comply scrupulously with the arms embargo and to cooperate with the Monitoring Group.

“The Security Council welcomes the readiness of the Secretary-General to enhance the attention of the United Nations to developments in Somalia within existing resources.  The Council reiterates that a comprehensive peace-building program with special emphasis on disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration will be important to post-conflict Somalia as stipulated in the statement of its President of 28 March 2002 (S/PRST/2002/8).

“The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to consider and to suggest in his next report ways to develop the role of the United Nations in support of the IGAD facilitated Somali reconciliation process.

“The Security Council reiterates its readiness to assist the Somali parties and support IGAD in implementation of the agreements reached in the Somalia National Reconciliation Conference.”

Background

When the Security Council met it had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Somalia (S/2004/115 and Corr.1), covering the period from 13 October 2003, and focusing on the progress made by the Somali national reconciliation process under the auspices of IGAD.

The conflict in Somalia dates to 1989, when growing discontent with President Siad Barre’s regime resulted in a general civil war.  The regime collapsed in 1991, and the country descended into inter-clan warfare.  The crisis in Somalia impelled the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the country and eventually authorize a United Nations peace enforcement operation from 1993 to 1995.  United Nations peacekeeping forces were then drawn into a difficult and protracted conflict with the Somali National Alliance (SNA), which sapped the will of the international community for the enforcement operation.  When the last United Nations forces withdrew in March 1995, Somalia remained divided, without a central government.

In 2002, the IGAD, a regional organization of States in the Horn of Africa, proposed to hold a peace and reconciliation conference.  That conference signed a Declaration on Cessation of Hostilities and the Structures and Principles of the Somalia Reconciliation Process, in Eldoret, Kenya, on 27 October that year.  Since then, a Somalia National Reconciliation Conference has been meeting in Mbagathi, Kenya, under auspices of the IGAD.

On 16 December 2003, the Council adopted resolution 1519 (2003) to give full effect to the implementation of the arms embargo [see Press Release SC/7957].  The Secretary-General states in his report that, according to the Council’s request, he has established a Monitoring Group to investigate violations of the arms embargo covering access to Somalia by land, air and sea and to provide a draft list of those who continue to violate the embargo for possible measures by the Council.

According to the report, on 29 January, Somali leaders signed a “Declaration on the Harmonization of Various Issues Proposed by the Somali Delegates at the Somali Consultative Meetings from 9 to 29 January”, consisting of proposed amendments to the transitional federal charter adopted at the plenary meeting of the Conference on 15 September 2003.  Among other things, the document called for a national census to be undertaken while a new constitution was being drafted, as well as for its approval by an internationally supervised national referendum.  A controversy arose, however, over the method of selection of the members of the transitional federal parliament, which is to consist of 275 members, 12 per cent of whom would be women.

The Secretary-General observes that that agreement marked a breakthrough that promises to allow further progress in the Somalia National Reconciliation Conference.  He points out, however, how important it is that progress in the political arena be accompanied by serious efforts on the leaders’ part to realize tangible improvement in the security situation, which would be conducive to the implementation of a political agreement.  That would, in turn, accord the necessary credibility to the political agreement, which would be critical if it were to receive the full support of the people of Somalia and the international community.

The Secretary-General further observes that insecurity and violence in many parts of the country make a comprehensive peace urgent.  Somali leaders and their militias should also be aware that they will be held accountable for continued violations of human rights.  It would be necessary for the front-line IGAD States to narrow differences among themselves with regard to the Somali national reconciliation process, and to speak with one voice.

Regarding the humanitarian situation in Somalia -- affected by four years of drought in northern Somalia, issues of safe access to contested areas, inter-clan fighting and ongoing violence and criminality -- the Secretary-General notes that, as at 1 February, less than 1 per cent of the $113 million requested in the 2004 Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Somalia has been received.  Of the $78 million requested in the 2003 appeal, 61 per cent was funded.  Many essential services are not provided to the population because of lack of funds and the precarious security situation.

As the United Nations and non-governmental organizations have made greater efforts to improve the consolidated inter-agency appeal by making it more participatory and strengthening analysis and planning, the Secretary-General encourages donors to contribute generously to the consolidated appeal, in order to ensure the fullest possible implementation of the Common Humanitarian Action Plan for Somalia.

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For information media. Not an official record.