WITH UNITY GOVERNMENT INSTALLED IN SOMALIA, ‘NEW PARADIGM’ NEEDED TO GUIDE EFFORT BASED ON LINKS AMONG GOVERNANCE, SECURITY, DEVELOPMENT, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD

20 March 2009
SC/9620

WITH UNITY GOVERNMENT INSTALLED IN SOMALIA, ‘NEW PARADIGM’ NEEDED TO GUIDE EFFORT BASED ON LINKS AMONG GOVERNANCE, SECURITY, DEVELOPMENT, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD

20 March 2009
Security Council
SC/9620
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6095th Meeting (AM)

WITH UNITY GOVERNMENT INSTALLED IN SOMALIA, ‘NEW PARADIGM’ NEEDED TO GUIDE EFFORT

BASED ON LINKS AMONG GOVERNANCE, SECURITY, DEVELOPMENT, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD

Special Representative Describes Practical Steps to Help Stabilize Country;

Transitional Government Foreign Minister Says Targets Set for First 100 Days

There was no possibility of wide-scale recovery and rehabilitation in Somalia if the situation remained volatile.  Yet, without basic investments in development, criminality would continue to thrive and security would not improve, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative told the Security Council this morning.

Briefing the Council on the next steps in the implementation of the Djibouti Agreement and how to make the best use of the first 100 days of the newly installed unity Government, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah said: “A new paradigm, based on the linkage between governance, security and development, is now needed.”  A strategy with achievable goals should be used to help stabilize the country.  For the next 100 days, goals towards stability should be limited: employment, renovation of infrastructure and humanitarian assistance.

Practical actions by the international community should include immediate support for the new authorities; immediate diplomatic and financial assistance to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM); transparent and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance; the issue of individuals on the sanctions list; impunity; and piracy.

As for piracy, he said, that was, above all, a profitable business, linked to the failure of the State on land and its extension off shore.  By drawing attention to the plight of Somalis, the international naval presence was a show of solidarity with the country and the whole region.  Fighting piracy was also fighting many criminal activities: illegal fishing; waste dumping; and trafficking in humans and drugs.  At the same time, there was a need to consolidate cooperative work to help trace the pirates’ financial resources.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar, describing progress made after the new Government had been installed, said: “There are no warlords today in Somalia.”  There were no clan wars or political factions holding the country hostage.  Some, however, still refused the offer of peace and dialogue.  “Yet, we remain ready to negotiate.  But we will only do so across the table.  The gun must be put away,” he said.

He said the Somali Government had set its targets for the first 100 days.  Its responsibility was to provide credibility, coherence and competence in governance.  The Government’s security and peacekeeping strategy was based on the twin pillars of AMISOM and the joint security forces.  The joint security forces were not funded, resourced or equipped.  The 22 April pledging conference would be crucial for providing resources to the security sector.

Turning to the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia, he said defeating piracy required the restoration of the rule of law.  The Somali Government was ready, willing and able to integrate the required actions against piracy into the twin pillars of its security development and stabilization programme.

Reporting on AMISOM, Ramtane Lamamra, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, said the Mission was working closely with the Transitional Federal Government to bring the Somali joint security forces into operation.  AMISOM was also providing basic humanitarian relief.  At present, he said AMISOM was comprised of two battalions from Burundi and Uganda each (totalling 3,450 troops), against an authorized strength of 8,000.  Efforts were under way to complete the deployment of AMISOM’s police component.

He welcomed the Council’s intent to consider a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia as a follow-on to AMISOM, which he understood was subject to a decision by 1 June.  He called on the Council to “build on its position” and take the necessary decision to deploy that peacekeeping operation.  He noted also that the Council had approved the Secretary-General’s proposals to establish a logistical package for AMISOM, as well as a trust fund to help finance training and provide other assistance to Somali security forces.  He looked forward to the General Assembly’s approval of the support package, to be provided through United Nations assessed contributions.  Collective action was needed so as not to lose the current “window of opportunity”.

While welcoming the positive political developments and progress made in the Djibouti peace process in Somalia, speakers in the ensuing debate expressed grave concern at the continued insecurity in some parts of the country, violations of human rights and the precarious humanitarian situation, as well as at the continued acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia.  Regarding the future transition of AMISOM to a United Nations peacekeeping operation, speakers looked forward to the Secretary-General’s report in April on the issue, in order to determine the most appropriate course of action.  They commended President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed for his efforts at reaching out to the parties outside the Djibouti peace process and welcomed the fact that the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces from Somalia had not left a security vacuum.

The representative of the United Kingdom warned that the complexity of the challenges should not be underestimated.  Progress was urgently needed in tackling the humanitarian crisis.  As for the political track, “Somali solutions to Somali problems are needed”, he said.  The international community must continue to support the new Government and give it space to pursue reconciliation.  A secure environment must also be created and the joint security forces -- the only long-term solution -- should be strengthened.  AMISOM continued to play a critical role and provided a base for the Government to operate in the capital.

The representative of Uganda, one of the troop-contributing countries to AMISOM, said the situation in Somalia was still fragile and there were some groups, bent on the path of violence, who continued attacks in different parts of the country, including a cowardly attack on AMISOM that had killed a Ugandan army officer.  Such attacks destabilized the country and impeded the delivery of much needed humanitarian assistance to ordinary citizens.  He, like other speakers, condemned the targeting of humanitarian personnel, all acts of impunity and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

Addressing the issue of piracy, which impeded the delivery of humanitarian aid and interfered with international trade, speakers welcomed the cooperation and naval actions of Member States to provide escorts for World Food Programme (WFP) shipments and other ships, and for suppressing acts of piracy, but noted that the root causes -- a lack of the rule of law and governance on land -- must be addressed.  Regional countries should also be involved in addressing the issue, they stressed.   Costa Rica’s representative added that he hoped the commitment displayed by the international community in addressing the piracy crisis would increase the attention given to the root causes of the crisis in Somalia.

The representatives of Mexico, Burkina Faso, United States, France, Japan, Russian Federation, Turkey, China, Viet Nam, Croatia, Austria, Libya, Czech Republic (on behalf of the European Union), Norway and Malaysia also addressed the Council, as did the Director of the African and Afro-Arab Cooperation Department of the League of Arab States.

The meeting started at 10:10 a.m. and adjourned at 1:10 p.m.

Background

The Security Council met today to consider the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Somalia (document S/2009/132), which covers developments since the previous report of 17 November 2008 (S/2008/709), focusing on political developments and progress made in the Djibouti peace process.  It also outlines progress made towards the strengthening of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and contingency planning for the possible deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation, as requested in resolution 1863 (2009) (see Press Release SC/9574 of 16 January).

Among political developments, according to the report, are the resignation of President Abdullah Yusuf Ahmed, the election of Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed as his successor and the adoption of a joint declaration by members of the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) on the establishment of a unity Government and an inclusive Parliament, as well as the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces.  Al-Shabaab, an insurgent group that opposes the Djibouti process has taken control of Baidoa and seized the Parliament building.  The security situation in Somalia remains volatile and the United Nations was forced to further reduce personnel and programme activity.

The report notes that AMISOM has successfully assisted the joint security forces of the Transitional Federal Government and ARS in taking control of the areas vacated by the Ethiopian troops.  The resources available, however, fall far short of AMISOM requirements for its full deployment and sustenance of its operations, and the African Union has appealed to the Security Council for political, financial and logistical support.

A United Nations multidisciplinary assessment mission, led jointly by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) travelled to the region to develop plans for a support package for AMISOM; assistance in building security and rule-of-law institutions in Somalia; capacity enhancement for UNPOS; and further development of contingency planning for a United Nations peacekeeping operation, including the definition of conditions that would allow for such a mission.  Those plans were requested in Council resolution 1863 (2009).

The mission recommended a logistics package for AMISOM, to be funded from assessed contributions, and identified the needs to be met through voluntary contributions to the trust fund established by the Council.  It also highlighted military requirements that will need to be met through bilateral assistance from Member States.

As for assistance in building the Somali security and rule-of-law institutions, the technical assistance mission stressed that international assistance to the Joint Security Committee, the joint security force and the Somali police force should be focused on contributing to the goals of the Djibouti agreement, including promoting a peaceful environment and facilitating protection of civilians and delivery of humanitarian assistance.  They should proceed on the basis of an adequate political framework, accountability in the area of human rights, inclusive recruitment and sustainable funding.

According to the assessment mission, full implementation of the recommendations would require international staff to be deployed in Somalia in greater numbers, which is not permissible in the present security environment.  The most immediate priority is the need to identify resources to support the operations of the Joint Security Committee and to sustain existing Transitional Federal Government and ARS forces in Mogadishu.

The mission further gives recommendations on security sector reform, the Somali police force, human rights, justice and corrections, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, mine action and peacebuilding in “ Somaliland” and “Puntland”.  As for a maritime force, the Secretary-General has indicated that a maritime task force, including a component that would be able to undertake missions to Mogadishu, might support AMISOM and the peace process.  The assessment mission, however, noted that if AMISOM capabilities are reinforced and improved as planned, there will be no need for a sea-based capability.

With regard to a United Nations peacekeeping operation, the mission notes the need for basic conditions to be in place, including such benchmarks as a Government of national unity, inclusive beyond those represented in the Djibouti process; establishment of the joint security force in Mogadishu; implementation of a credible ceasefire; lifting of illegal checkpoints; active outreach to groups that remain outside the Djibouti process; consent to the deployment by all the major parties; and adequate pledges of troops and the required military capacities by Member States.

According to the report, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations estimates that some 22,500 troops would be needed to operate in five brigade-sized sectors throughout southern and central Somalia, as well as a maritime component.  The peacekeeping operation would also include a civilian police component and a civilian component that could incorporate all the functions normally carried out by a multidimensional peacekeeping operation.

The Secretary-General notes in his report the views expressed by several Council members that no decision has yet been taken to deploy a United Nations peacekeeping operation and that such a decision will be made in light of all circumstances.  Pending a decision by the Council, the Secretariat will continue to plan for all options.  The Secretary-General will provide further recommendations in his April report.

The Council also had before it the report of the Secretary-General pursuant to Security Council resolution 1846(2008) regarding piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia (document S/2009/146), which studies the piracy situation, examines the political, legal and operational activities undertaken by Member States, regional organizations and the United Nations and its partners, and offers some observations on how long-term security of international navigation off the coast of Somalia can bee secured.

Based on information received from Member States, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), as well as from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), piracy had increased 11 per cent worldwide in 2008, with 111 out of the 293 incidents occurring off the coast of Somalia.  That means a 200 per cent increase in the critical trade corridor linking the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean.  One of the most prominent pirate militias operates out of Eyl in “Puntland”, another is based in the southern Mudug region.  There are increasing reports of complicity by members of the “Puntland” administration, although the current leadership appears to be taking a more robust approach in the fight against piracy.

The report describes several high-level meetings held in 2008 to discuss regional or international coordinated approaches to the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia, as well as operational anti-piracy activities in the region, including from States and multinational organizations.  Those activities include the European Union Operation Atalanta, the naval Combined Task Force-150 (CTF-150) and CTF-151, and NATO activities.  The mandate of EU Operation Atalanta includes the protection of World Food Programme (WFP) contracted vessels carrying humanitarian assistance to Somalia and has enabled the safe delivery of nearly 76,000 tons of humanitarian assistance.  Currently, EU Operation Atlanta and CTF-151, in collaboration with the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization, are conducting group transits in the recommended corridor through the Gulf of Aden.

The report notes that one aspect that could benefit from further consideration would be the engagement of Member States in the region that have small but effective navies.  The Secretary-General recommends that Member States consider employing the services of those navies to complement current protective escorts to WFP-contracted vessels.

According to the report, further action is required regarding long-term security of international navigation.  Any long- and short-term measures to combat piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia will require an integrated approach that incorporates support of the peace process; strengthening of AMISOM and the Somali security forces; strengthening of legal and maritime institutions; addressing the lack of accountability by apprehending and prosecuting those suspected of piracy; strict compliance with arms embargoes; and peacebuilding efforts to empower local communities.

In the absence of adequate domestic legislative regimes in the States of the region, sole reliance on international instruments will prove insufficient to combat piracy.  Instruments relating to maritime security in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea require further participation.  The question of the arrest, detention and prosecution of suspects has raised interesting legal challenges that should be explored further.  There is common agreement to establish a coherent and effective legal mechanism for apprehension and prosecution.  It is also important that States put in place legislation at the national level to facilitate interception and boarding of ships.

The Secretary-General recommends that the role of the United Nations Secretariat at the current stage should not go beyond the fulfilment of existing mandates and the provision of a focal point through UNPOS for information-sharing.  The existing arms embargo against Somalia has been persistently violated and has contributed to the ready access to arms by pirates.  The Secretary-General, therefore, welcomes the suggestion from the International Conference on Piracy around Somalia to place under sanctions by the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) Somali leaders who impede the stabilization of the country by creating conditions that breed and escalate piracy.  Coordinated international efforts against piracy would generate an enduring effect if coupled with the interdiction of arms trafficking and the imposition of targeted sanctions against key pirate leaders and their sponsors.

Briefing by Special Representative

AHMEDOU OULD-ABDALLAH, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, briefed the Council on the next steps in the implementation of the Djibouti Agreement and how to make the best use of the first 100 days of the new Government.  He said that, for years, the situation in the country had been a threat to its people, with continued armed confrontation and subsequent anarchy.  It had been a threat to its neighbours as well as to the international community, with increasing irregular migration flows, homegrown hard drugs, terrorism and piracy, among other things.  “A new paradigm, based on the linkage between governance, security and development, is now needed,” he said.

He said there was no possibility of wide-scale recovery and rehabilitation if the situation remained volatile, but without basic investments in development, criminality would continue to thrive and security would not improve.  A strategy with achievable goals should help stabilize the country.  For the next 100 days, goals towards stability should be limited: employment, renovation of infrastructure and humanitarian assistance.  Many young people were available for violence, but many extremists were generally far more interested in their share of revenues than in ideology.  There were plenty of illegitimate ways to make small and large profits in and from Somalia.  How could the spoilers be convinced that peace would be more profitable?  While large resources were available for Somalia, a major problem was their effective and timely disbursement.  That issue should be addressed urgently.

It should not be up to the international community alone to support Somalia, he continued.  The country had the largest coastline in Africa, with rich fish resources and promising hydrocarbon deposits.  More important, it had an extraordinarily entrepreneurial business community.  The diaspora sent more than $1 billion home each year.  Those advantages should be mobilized for peace, reconstruction and development.

In his fist statement to the Council, on 17 December 2007, he had presented three possible courses of action for the United Nations:  a business as usual policy; total withdrawal from the country; or simultaneous political, security and development undertakings, he said.  The Djibouti Agreement was the result of the last approach, and Somalia was back from the brink.  State legitimacy had been established and recognized regionally, internationally and by the vast majority of Somalis.  The President, the Speaker, the Prime Minister, Cabinet and Parliament were all back in Mogadishu, a welcome departure from past practices of functioning from outside the capital.  Practical actions by the international community should include immediate support for the new authorities; immediate diplomatic and financial assistance to AMISOM; transparent and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance; the issue of individuals on the sanctions list; impunity; and piracy.

As for piracy, he said, that was, above all, a profitable business, linked to the failure of the State on land and its extension off shore.  By drawing attention o the plight of Somalis, the international naval presence was a show of solidarity with the country and the whole region.  Fighting piracy was also fighting many criminal activities: illegal fishing; waste dumping; and trafficking in humans and drugs.  At the same time, there was the need to consolidate cooperative work to help trace the pirates’ financial resources.  UNPOS planned to do that in cooperation with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

He said that, given the long-standing scepticism and old habits, “the struggle for peace will be long”.  The first priority, therefore, was to liberate the hijacked Somali peace agenda.  With the Djibouti Agreement, the country had passed a crossroads.  “It is a one way street -- going forward,” he said.  “The price of regression back to the conflict is too high for Somalia, the region and the international community.”

Statements

MOHAMED ABDULLAHI OMAAR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, said the new Prime Minister’s new Cabinet had been sworn into office one month ago and given an almost unanimous mandate by Parliament the same day.  The first Cabinet meeting had taken place on 28 February.  The business of Government was now fully under way in Somalia.  Its first and foremost policy was to create peace and security.  That could only be achieved through dialogue, negotiation, the will of compromise and reconciliation.  Since assuming office, the Government had taken four essential steps to lay the foundation for its programme of peace and reconciliation.

It had immediately and irreversibly assumed the seat of Government in the capital, Mogadishu, he said.  It had integrated the Transitional Federal Government and ARS forces into the joint security forces.  That had been successful and effective in rebuilding national security forces that were essential for peace and stability, as well as for reconciliation within State institutions.  It had mobilized the Somali people -- including major stakeholders like merchants, clan elders, religious leaders, women and youth -- to support the peace process.

It had also re-established State authority and the rule of law in the economy, beginning with the assumption of full authority over Mogadishu Port and Airport, the country’s main sea and air entry points, he continued.  Both had been restructured with new administrations and internationally acceptable operational procedures, and they were two new sources of internal revenue for the Government.  The fifth and most recent initiative had been the re-establishment of Somalia’s dialogue with the international community through the International Contact Group, the Arab League, the African Union and through bilateral discussions in the subregion with Kenya, Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda undertaken through presidential visits to those countries in the last 12 days.

There were no warlords today in Somalia, he said.  There were no clan wars. There were no political factions holding the country hostage.  Some, however, still refused the offer of peace and dialogue.  He reconfirmed that Sharia was the source of law, as set forth by clause 8 of the Federal Transitional Government’s Charter and it would remain so for the proposed Constitution now being prepared.  “Yet, we remain ready to negotiate.  But we will only do so across the table.  The gun must be put away,” he said.  The Somali Government was focused and had set its targets for the first 100 days.  Its responsibility was to provide credibility, coherence and competence in governance.  That could only be built in partnership and collaboration with the international community.  He called on Member Governments and other multilateral institutions to support the Government with urgent and immediate action.

The Government’s security and peacekeeping strategy was based on the twin pillars of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the joint security forces, he said.  The Government requested the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and the Governments of Burundi and Uganda to urgently send three additional battalions.  That must be undertaken immediately with improved equipment, logistics and medical facilities.  The joint security forces were not funded, resourced or equipped, but they were an essential partner for AMISOM for peacekeeping, and without those forces operational, AMISOM and the peacekeeping mission would be hampered.  He welcomed and supported the commitment to set up a United Nations peacekeeping operation for Somalia and he confirmed that a significant number of the benchmarks detailed in the Secretary-General’s report were already in place.  The 22 April pledging conference was crucial for providing resources to the security sector.

He stressed the need for the international community to work with the various organs of the Government of national unity, however fragile, and to respect its dignity and sovereignty.  Everyone needed to make adjustments in attitudes and operational habits and procedures.  Such adjustments must be telescoped into capacity-building resources for Government institutions.  Personnel in Government ministries and departments needed training and expertise to re-establish effective operations for the delivery of public services and administrative governance at the federal and local level.  More than 3 million people would need humanitarian assistance due to displacement and drought.  Of that total, 580,000 were internally displaced persons near Mogadishu.  That was a danger to human life that could be averted, and a danger to the peace and stability that were sought.

Defeating piracy in Somalia required the restoration of the rule of law, he said.  Since piracy’s origin and base was on land, defeating piracy could only be done in partnership with the Government.  Some 111 piracy attacks had occurred in 2008 and 7 so far in 2009.  The Somali Government was ready, willing and able to integrate the required actions against piracy into the twin pillars of its security development and stabilization programme.  He looked to the international community for an immediate agreed plan for implementation.  In the south-central regions of Somalia, the momentum for peace had created a new mainstream.  Somalia was no longer caught in the stalemate of conflict between factions of approximately equal weight.  The mainstream was led by the Government.  It had gained credibility with the Somali people.  It was establishing coherence through State institutions that must be empowered.  Most of all, however, it needed resources to govern competently.

RAMTANE LAMAMRA, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, said he had observed signs of “significant progress” since the year had begun.  Following the resignation of President Abdullahi Yusuf on 29 December 2008, various Somali stakeholders had succeeded in expanding the Transitional Federal Parliament by 275 seats to accommodate ARS and others, including members of civil society.  On 30 January, the expanded Parliament had elected a new President, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who had appointed a new Prime Minister on 13 February.  The Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashi Ali Shermake, in turn, had formed a 36-member Cabinet representing a broad-based Government, which had since relocated to Mogadishu along with other transitional institutions.  The President had recently expressed a commitment to bring about reconciliation among the Somali people, by bringing on board elements that were still outside the peace process.

Mr. Lamamra stressed the need for sustained engagement from the United Nations in supporting the African Union to implement the United Nations-led Djibouti Agreement.  The African Union appreciated the Council’s continued attention in addressing the threats posed by piracy off the Somali coast, and urged that actions in that regard also “directly or indirectly” promote “much needed” security for Somalia and the whole region.  Indeed, the security situation in Somalia and Mogadishu remained “very volatile”, with attacks directed at AMISOM.  In response, the President had established a national security committee and attempted a dialogue with armed opposition groups.  A number of religious clerics, traditional leaders, businessmen and the influential Hawiiye Cultural and Unity Council had also prevailed upon those groups to halt their attacks.  The resulting cessation of hostilities agreement was expected to hold for 120 days, effective 1 March.

For AMISOM’s part, he explained that the Mission was working closely with the Transitional Federal Government to bring the Somali joint security forces into operation, and was currently providing food rations to the first batch of troops.  Looking ahead, the Transitional Federal Government was now asking the African Union to work with the Council to take advantage of the exemption to the arms embargo, so that the Somali forces could secure the weapons and ammunition they needed.  In terms of the humanitarian situation, he said people continued to go in and out of Mogadishu in reaction to continued fighting between opposition and Government forces.  AMISOM was providing basic humanitarian relief, and a level-1 hospital was providing medical care to a considerable number of people.  AMISOM was also supplying potable water to communities living near camps and even beyond.

At present, he said, AMISOM was comprised of two battalions from Burundi and Uganda each (totalling 3,450 troops), against an authorized strength of 8,000.  Steps were being taken to deploy a third battalion from Uganda and consultations were ongoing with regard to a third battalion from Burundi.  The Government of Algeria, at no cost to AMISOM, was helping air-lift Burundian troops as part of their rotation, and would help deploy the third Ugandan battalion.

He said efforts were under way to complete the deployment of AMISOM’s police component, which would then train, mentor and help restructure and reorganize the Somali police.  The African Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) were developing an integrated support plan for the Somali police force, which was receiving funding and logistical support from the African Union’s bilateral and multilateral partners.

He welcomed the Council’s intent to consider a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia as a follow-on to AMISOM, which he understood was subject to a decision by 1 June.  He called on the Council to “build on its position” and take the necessary decision to deploy that peacekeeping operation, adding that the African Union had renewed AMISOM’s mandate on 11 March for another three months, in anticipation of the Council’s decision to deploy such a follow-on force.  He noted also that the Council had approved the Secretary-General’s proposals to establish a logistical package for AMISOM, as well as a trust fund to help finance training and provide other assistance to Somali security forces.  He looked forward to the General Assembly’s approval of the support package, to be provided through United Nations assessed contributions, and called on Member States to contribute also to the envisioned trust fund.  Collective action was needed not to lose the current “window of opportunity”.

JOHN SAWERS ( United Kingdom) said encouraging developments included the smooth withdrawal of Ethiopian forces, and the election of the new President and the decision to base the new Government in Mogadishu.  The complexity of the challenges should, however, not be underestimated.  Progress was urgently needed in tackling the humanitarian crisis.  As for the political track, Somali solutions to Somali problems were needed.  The international community must continue to support the new Government and give it space to pursue reconciliation.  A secure environment must also be created and the joint security forces -- the only long-term solution -- should be strengthened.  AMISOM continued to play a critical role and provided a base for the Government to operate in the capital.

He announced that the United Kingdom would give £10 million to the United Nations trust fund for AMISOM, in addition to the £5 million given directly to the African Union.  As for the issue of a possible United Nations peacekeeping operation, he said there was uncertainty whether a classic peacekeeping operation would be adequate.  In that regard, he looked forward to the Secretary-General’s report.  In order to address piracy, the root causes on land must also be addressed.  The United Kingdom was providing the commander and headquarters of the European Union naval mission.  Recent developments had given ground for some optimism, he said in conclusion, but the challenges remained immense and practical support to the Government and AMISOM must be urgently provided.

CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) said that, given the success of the presidential election, it was important for the international community to redouble efforts to complete establishment of the Somali State.  The Djibouti Agreement must continue to lend impetus to the process of reconciliation.  Although agreement had been reached with some insurgent groups, it was worrying that some extremist groups remained on the sidelines.  The President must, therefore, continue his efforts to achieve an inclusive dialogue.  The Government should also focus on complete reform of the security sector.  Specific progress must be made regarding the justice system, arms trafficking, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants and mine-clearing.

He said the responsibility borne by the African Union was undeniable, as was cooperation with regional bodies to consolidate the rule of law and compliance with international law.  The police force must ensure full observance of human rights and also ensure that perpetrators of violations were held accountable.  The alarming use of children in armed conflict must also be addressed.  The new Government should also apply the measures of the Sanctions Committee.  Piracy was one of the consequences of the serious instability, and it was, therefore, important to follow a cross-cutting approach for stability in the region.  It was imperative that perpetrators be brought to justice.  He pointed out that Council resolutions 1816 (2008) and 1846 (2008) had authorized entry into Somali territorial waters under Chapter VII, but that both resolutions had stipulated that the authorization granted was not to be seen as a precedent.

MICHEL KAFANDO ( Burkina Faso) said the general situation remained a source of concern, despite important progress since the signing of the Djibouti Agreement, particularly in terms of security.  The African Union Heads of State had concluded that the international community should welcome the new Somali Government.  He urged the international community to continue to help the new Government strengthen political cooperation and integration, reconstruction and training of the Somali police force.  He supported the conclusions of the International Contact Group, which called for strengthening AMISOM.  The security situation had deteriorated significantly, particularly since the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops.  The security aspect of the Djibouti Agreement must be implemented rapidly.  The Government, the joint security forces and AMISOM must have sustained support, so that they could ensure Somalia’s security, protect civilians and bring humanitarian assistance to civilians.

He lauded the steps taken by Burundi and Uganda to deploy additional battalions for Somalia.  The recent murderous attacks against AMISOM soldiers illustrated the urgent need to strengthen the Mission, with a view towards the future deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation.  AMISOM was the foundation upon which the United Nations could build a future international presence in Somalia, in line with international standards.  The assessment by the technical evaluation mission noted the troops did not have the necessary equipment in line with international standards.  That must change.  The humanitarian situation could deteriorate further, due to the drought in certain regions.  The slowing of the humanitarian operation due to security concerns must be dealt with quickly.  The civilian population remained exposed to the threat of unexploded ordinances and mines.  He called on the international community to strengthen support for Somalia.

ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States) assured the new Somali Government of the United States cooperation.  She supported the recent political events, saying they presented an opportunity to make real progress in Somalia and that support for the Somali people was necessary to take advantage of that opening.  She was encouraged by the political progress under the Djibouti Agreement.  She supported efforts to bring all parties in Somalia together to work with the new Government.  She was also encouraged by groups willing to lay down arms.  She regretted that the Al-Shabaab organization had failed to do that and to join the new Government.  At the same time, Eritrea continued to provide financial and political backing to Al-Shabaab and other extremists.  She condemned those actions and said they could not be tolerated.

She supported the brave troops of AMISOM, who were doing crucial work in key areas such as securing infrastructure and aid for civilians.  She strongly urged Member States to financially support AMISOM.  Somalia must begin to provide for its own security.  The United States was encouraged by the international community’s response to piracy off Somalia’s coast.  Ships from 15 to 20 countries were now patrolling those waters.  She commended the Kenyan Government for offering to prosecute suspected pirates.  She urged other Governments to help Kenya manage logistical challenges to process suspected pirates.  She thanked United Nations agencies and aid groups for their efforts, and she strongly condemned those who impeded the delivery of needed assistance by attacking AMISOM and aid organizations.

JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT ( France) said a positive momentum was under way in Somalia, including with the elections of the President and his efforts towards an inclusive dialogue with all parties.  The withdrawal of the Ethiopian troops had not led to a security vacuum.  However, the situation was extremely fragile, including regarding humanitarian needs.  The conditions were all the more harsh because humanitarian workers were targeted for attacks and abduction.  Attacks also continued against AMISOM.  The international community had an essential role to play and must provide full support to the new Government.  It must also support the establishment of robust and well-trained joint security forces, as well as a national police force.  In parallel, AMISOM forces must be enhanced.  That would require additional financial resources.  The Council had taken the decision to provide a logistical support package to AMISOM and had also established a trust fund.

He said implementation of resolution 1863 (2009) was difficult, but must be done swiftly and pragmatically.  The combating of impunity was essential and must not be neglected.  In that regard, he fully supported the approach the Special Representative had taken.  Last year, the Council had discussed a possible United Nations peacekeeping operation.  That discussion would resume after receiving the Secretary-General’s report in April.  Combating piracy had become all the more necessary, and operations must be undertaken to secure humanitarian supplies.  He welcomed the fact that so many States were participating in the efforts to combat piracy.

YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) said that, although significant progress had been made recently in the political process, the prospect for realizing a more inclusive peace process remained dim.  The unstable security situation was a major area of concern, with attacks on AMISOM and abduction of aid workers.  In those difficult circumstances, AMISOM continued to secure strategic installations in cooperation with the joint security forces.  Its troop-contributing countries needed every possible support for logistics, training and equipment, and it was important that the United Nations logistical package to the Mission would be speedily approved.  Building the capacity of Somali security institutions was essential.  It was important for the international community to formulate the best possible way to assist Somalia to pursue both quick response and accountability.  Japan had provided assistance of $64.5 million for humanitarian needs and security sector enhancement over the past two years.

He said acts of piracy posed a threat to the international community.  His Government had approved the deployment of Japan’s self-defence forces and two destroyers had departed.  A new law on the penalization of acts of piracy and measures against acts of piracy had been submitted to the Diet.  It was important to strengthen partnerships, including through United Nations efforts for information-sharing, in order to improve the coordination between the various activities of Member States.  It would also be essential to assist institution-building, such as governing capacity and infrastructure.  The international community must strengthen cooperation and interaction with Somalia and should mobilize the necessary support.  Regarding the future transition of AMISOM to a United Nations peacekeeping operation, he looked forward to the Secretary-General’s report in order to determine the most appropriate course of action.

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) supported the report on piracy.  He welcomed the latest political developments and the peaceful transition of power, including the election of the federal Parliament, the appointment of the new Prime Minister and the formation of the new Government.  He expected that the new President would be able to unite all parties and move ahead to establish the rule of law and lasting peace.  He supported the proposal to provide for logistical support.  In terms of prospects for deploying a peacekeeping operation, a future Council decision would depend to a large extent on the commitment of the Somalis.  Preconditions for that were not in place yet.  But, a future operation should be planned in Somalia that would take over from AMISOM.  Resolution 1863 (2009) provided for increasing international assistance to the Somali peace process.  Success would depend on solutions to many problems, including piracy.  The Secretary-General’s report reflected efforts by the international community to combat piracy.  He urged the Secretary-General to continue active work in that area.

It was necessary to move forward with the Djibouti process to ensure security in the country and to overcome activities that encouraged robbery and criminal acts, he said.  Action by the Somali Government to combat piracy must be encouraged, and Governments in the region had a special role in that regard.  It was necessary to support regional initiatives such as the adoption in January in Djibouti of a code of conduct to support efforts to combat piracy in the Horn of Africa.  He also supported creation of a piracy database.  The Russian Federation was contributing to that, in the framework of the contact group on piracy.  Russian naval forces were providing for the security of vessels.  China, India and the United States had also cooperated with Russian vessels to secure Somalia’s shores.  More than 80 Russian and other international vessels had been deployed, and piracy acts had been diverted.

RUHAKANA RUGUNDA ( Uganda) said the challenges facing Somalia were many and pressing.  The conflict in Somalia had also had negative consequences for the region in terms of refugees, piracy, proliferation of small arms and as a breeding ground for terrorism.  He was encouraged by recent positive developments, particularly the implementation of the Djibouti Peace Agreement, the expansion of Parliament, the election of the new President, the appointment of the new Prime Minister and the formation of a Government of national unity.  Such developments provided an opportunity for peace and stability.  He welcomed efforts by the new President to reach out to various groups and to accommodate different opinions.  He lauded as bold the decision to move the seat of the new Government to Mogadishu and the new Government’s setting security and reconciliation, humanitarian access, institutional capacity-building and managing transitional arrangements as priority areas during the first 100 days of office.

He called upon all parties to respond positively to the President’s initiatives and to join the political process, so that the urgent task of rebuilding the country could begin in earnest.  The situation in Somalia was still fragile and there were some groups that were still bent on the path of violence and who continued mounting attacks in different parts of the country.  The latest attack on AMISOM that had killed a Ugandan army officer was one such cowardly attack.  Such attacks destabilized the country and impeded the delivery of much needed humanitarian assistance to ordinary citizens, particularly the most vulnerable.  He condemned the targeting of humanitarian personnel, all acts of impunity and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

He said he was deeply disturbed by piracy off the coast of Somalia.  It impeded the delivery of humanitarian aid to the needy and interfered with international trade, raising the cost of shipment and hindering economic development in the region.  The ultimate solution to piracy was to support and enable Somalia to regain its capacity as a sovereign entity with functioning institutions capable of enforcing law and order, reigning in pirates and providing basic services to its people.  AMISOM had been playing a vital role in helping to deliver humanitarian aid, rebuild State institutions and combat piracy.  It could do more if it was strengthened.  He was encouraged that a support package was being put in place that would enable AMISOM to sustain its operations and build on them, so that it could better fulfil its mandate.  He urged all Somalis to give peace a chance and to look to the future in rebuilding the country.

JORGE URBINA ( Costa Rica) said Somalia faced one of the most tragic humanitarian situations, as well as one of the most severe political crises.  The situation required a holistic approach, taking into account the complexity of the problems.  The cooperation of all sectors of Somali society was needed in order to implement the Djibouti Agreement.  The task of establishing broad-based political institutions was an urgent one.  Those tasks could only be accomplished through a long-term strategy that also should embrace the development situation parallel to the security situation.  He welcomed the election of the new President and the appointment of the Prime Minister.

He said the precarious security situation in Somalia was of concern, particularly with regard to the increase of attacks against AMISOM.  He hoped that implementation of resolution 1863 (2009) would lessen AMISOM’s vulnerability and improve its effectiveness.  He condemned attacks against the civilian population.  It was urgent that all actions intended to ensure free access of humanitarian aid and security of humanitarian personnel be continued.  All parties to the conflict were obliged to comply with international law and international humanitarian law.  Combating impunity was a priority issue.  He welcomed the progress made in efforts to combat piracy of the coast of Somalia.  He trusted that the commitment displayed by the international community in addressing that crisis would increase the attention given to the root causes of the crisis in Somalia.

BAKİ İLKİN ( Turkey) welcomed the election of Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed as the new President, as well as the appointment of Prime Minister Omar Sharmarke and his new Government.  As a supporter of the Djibouti peace process, Turkey would like to see a unity Government being formed and he urged other Member States to do their part in helping to empower the new Government through various means, including financial assistance.  The Government should harness the support of its partners to build a security and police force, while launching disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programmes.  It should seek means to generate revenue to support State expenditure.  The State must also address questions of human rights violations and other humanitarian issues, through a rehabilitated judicial and corrections system.

He said a regional or international peacekeeping force would help the Government feel secure in achieving its targets.  Commending the Burundian and Ugandan forces of the African Union Mission for their efforts in that regard, he said it might be some time until a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia would be deployed, so it was important to raise that force’s capabilities and provide it with some funding.  The Secretary-General’s intention to convene a donor conference was welcome, and Turkey was ready to contribute to the trust fund that would be established there.  Turkey was also prepared to train prospective peacekeepers to be deployed in Somalia, and the Turkish police stood ready to train the Somali police, if asked.  On the issue of piracy, which was a still matter of concern to the international community, Turkey had allocated a frigate with air assets to join the recently launched international CTF-151.  As a founding member of the International Contact Group, Turkey was participating actively in working groups formed under the Group.

ZHANG YESUI ( China) said the situation in Somalia remained fragile and required overall efforts by all parties there and by the international community.  He supported the Djibouti peace process and called upon all parties concerned to implement it.  He supported the new Somali Government and its efforts to strengthen dialogue with different political parties, and encouraged the Government to set up effective institutions as soon as possible.  He called upon the international community to provide support to the national peace and reconciliation process in Somalia.  That required a stable and secure environment.  He welcomed the decision by the African Union Peace and Security Council to renew the AMISOM mandate for three months.  He called on the international community to continue to provide logistical and financial support to AMISOM.

He called on all parties in Somalia to achieve an immediate ceasefire.  Achieving peace there required a greater role by the United Nations.  He supported the United Nations support package to AMISOM and welcomed the Secretary-General’s technical assessment mission to the region.  The General Assembly should speed up its consideration of a support package for AMISOM.  He expressed hope that the Secretary-General would expedite efforts concerning the creation of the trust fund.  China had provided Uganda and Burundi, the two major troop-contributing countries to AMISOM, with logistical support.   It must not be forgotten that the ultimate goal of AMISOM was to strengthen the situation for a United Nations peacekeeping operation.  The upcoming months were critical to the peace process in Somalia.  China was ready to work with other members to promote a greater role for the Security Council on Somalia.

LE LUONG MINH ( Viet Nam), noting significant progress in the Somali political process, which had seen the election of a new President, said he appreciated Ethiopia’s withdrawal of forces from Somalia, in fulfilment of the ceasefire agreement.  Given such encouraging developments, and Somalia’s determination to promote implementation of the ceasefire, Viet Nam was deeply concerned at clashes by insurgent groups against the new President and the anticipated unity Government.  His country was also concerned at the humanitarian and human rights situation, as more than 3 million Somalis were in need of assistance. He condemned attacks against the African Union mission.

At the same time, he was encouraged that States -– individually and collectively -– were conducting anti-piracy efforts off the Somali coast, apparently improving that situation.  The issue had shifted from one of needing stronger measures to one of implementing relevant resolutions and the Djibouti peace process.  He agreed that off-shore piracy and armed robbery would be resolved only through an integrated approach that addressed the conflict, lack of governance and absence of sustainable livelihoods.  As such, he supported the call to provide the necessary resources to bring about durable peace and stability, and stressed the importance of providing assistance to build the capacity of local and regional stakeholders.  Commending the African force for its efforts, he said resources available for AMISOM were far short of those required.  He supported the plan to convene an international donor conference to solicit funds.

NEVEN JURICA ( Croatia) welcomed the positive developments mentioned in implementing the Djibouti Agreement.  He hoped the election of the new President would encourage parties outside the process to join in.  The Council should use all its leverage to support the political process.  The security situation, however, was not so encouraging.  Although the worst possible scenario of fighting after withdrawal of Ethiopian troops had not materialized, the attacks against humanitarian workers and AMISOM were of utmost concern.  It was, therefore, necessary to enhance AMISOM and Somali capacity-building.  The conclusions of the technical assessment mission were helpful in that regard.

He welcomed the intention of the Secretary-General to convene a donor conference and set up a trust fund for AMISOM and for establishing national institutions.  He had grave concerns, however, about the impact the security situation could have on the dire humanitarian situation.  Humanitarian actions should, therefore, be a priority of the international community.  The continuing violence, including targeted killings of members of the Government and aid workers, was extremely disturbing.  All parties of the conflict should be held accountable under international law.  The culture of impunity should be ended and the President should be encouraged to set up mechanisms for reconciliation.  It was critical that the problem of piracy be tackled.  Croatia had provided several officers to the European Union Operation Atalanta.

THOMAS MAYR-HARTING (Austria), fully aligning himself with the European Union, said that, despite difficult political, security and humanitarian situations, Somalis had achieved important progress in the Djibouti peace process.  Congratulating President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed on his election, he supported the legitimate Government and ongoing political process.  The international community must support Somali efforts to build security and rule of law institutions, and embark on a reconciliation process.  Towards that goal, he called for strengthening UNPOS and implementing relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolution 1844 (2008), which targeted those who threatened Somalia’s stability.

He said the security and humanitarian situations required utmost attention.   Somalia’s human rights situation was among the most neglected in the world and was particularly worrying for women.   Austria fully supported enhancing the Political Office’s capacity to focus on incorporating justice and accountability mechanisms in Somalia.  Thanking troop-contributing countries to AMISOM, he fully supported strengthening the Mission, and noted the United Nations support package as an important pillar in that respect.  He looked forward to the Secretary-General’s report in April, which would inform the Council of progress in the security situation.  It was important that any international presence fully comply with its obligations under international law, and that protection of civilians was granted by all parties.  Regarding piracy, which helped finance the “spoilers” of the stabilization process, he stressed the importance of activities such as the European UnionOperation Atalanta.

Council President ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMED SHALGHAM (Libya), speaking in his national capacity, said he was encouraged by the recent formation of a new Government in Somalia and the commitment of the parties to a national reconciliation process based on the Djibouti Peace Agreement.  All parties must commit to that and abandon a policy of exclusion.  That was the only path to a permanent political settlement.  The new President’s desire to communicate with all parties was the first step in the right direction.  He urged all parties and factions to respond to the President, adopt a spirit of tolerance and overcome the past in order to achieve peace and reconciliation.  He welcomed the full withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia.  He called on all African Union members that had pledged to contribute troops to AMISOM to deploy them without delay.  He called on the international community to provide funding to enable those States to contribute troops.

He expressed hope that support for Somalia would be in accordance with United Nations criteria for troops.  Despite the fact that no major combatant operations had taken place since Ethiopian forces pulled out, African Union troops were still being targeted and those attacks were negatively affecting humanitarian operations.  He expressed concern over the continuing deterioration in the humanitarian situation, as more than 3 million people needed aid.  The number of internally displaced persons was still on the rise and they were not expected to return home any time soon.  Armed groups continued to abduct and kill aid workers or steal their supplies, particularly in the southern and central areas.  Piracy was a natural extension of the political situation.  Combating it required a multidimensional approach based on political dialogue involving all factions and backed by a peacekeeping mission.  He encouraged cooperation between States and United Nations bodies in that regard.  He also supported drawing up a legal framework to try those charged with committing piracy and robbery at sea.

The lack of stability and security must not be used as an excuse to oppose deployment of a United Nations force in Somalia, he said.  Libya had a long-standing relationship with Somalia.  The President of Somalia could be arriving in Libya tomorrow, he said, noting that Libyan officials were in continued contact with all factions in Somalia.  Libya was the only State that had an embassy in Somalia, which had been there for a long time.  Libya continued to provide Somalia with logistical and administrative support.

PETR KAISER ( Czech Republic), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Djibouti process had created a powerful momentum for an inclusive political settlement that brought the potential of stabilizing the whole country.  The European Union encouraged the President and the Prime Minister to continue their efforts to achieve a cessation of hostilities and create an inclusive peace process involving all parties.  Such a process must also give a voice to women.  The situation on the ground, however, remained extremely volatile and hampered humanitarian operations.  The support of the international community for the Somali joint security forces and the Somalia police service was key in that regard.  The humanitarian situation remained critical.  Violence and prolonged drought caused massive displacement, disrupted economic activities and limited humanitarian access.

He said AMISOM and Somali security institutions would, in the coming months, continue to play an important role in ensuring security, supporting the political process and facilitating humanitarian activities.  The European Union, therefore, supported the provision of a United Nations logistical support package for AMISOM and the establishment of a trust fund.  The European Union continued to ensure medium- to long-term assistance to Somalia, with priority on promoting a peaceful and secure environment, human rights, the democratic process and institution-building.  The European support programme for 2008-2013 amounted to €215 million, and €40 million had been committed so far to AMISOM.  The European Commission was open to the European Union request to financially support the immediate and short-term needs of the AMISOM police component.

The Union’s direct engagement in the fight against piracy had started in September 2008, he said.  The naval operation Atalanta focused on the protection of WFP shipping, escorting some of the most vulnerable vessels and deterring and repressing acts of piracy through surveillance and patrolling.  Suppressing piracy could only be achieved by addressing the root causes of the problem, namely instability and the lack of rule of law and good governance.  The naval operation currently had the strength of some 1,000 personnel from 12 member States and comprised five frigates, helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft.  The Union operation was effectively fighting piracy together with other countries that had deployed in the Gulf of Aden.  It worked together with CTF-151, as well as with regional countries.  It was important to continue to have an operational contact point in the Secretariat in New York in addition to the UNPOS focal point in Nairobi.

He said the international response to piracy off the coasts of Somalia should be accompanied by continued efforts and a longer-term strategy aiming to bring peace, stability and recovery to Somalia and its people.  The international community should continue to support the political process in order to help the people of Somalia achieve durable peace and stability.  The engagement of the international community should be complemented by the efforts of Somalis themselves.  The European Union was currently working on a comprehensive and coherent approach towards the Horn of Africa, including the regional dimension of the situation in Somalia.

BERIT ENGE ( Norway) said she was encouraged by recent and remarkable changes, but the new Somali leaders were facing tremendous challenges with a tenuous security situation and overwhelming humanitarian needs.  Human rights and impunity were major concerns and the reconciliation process must continue to move forward.  There were still groups and elements that were prepared to use violence, including attacks on AMISOM.  Such attacks could only be condemned in the strongest terms.  The international community must stand together in supporting the new Somali leadership.  She supported the decision to establish a trust fund for support to AMISOM and agreed on the need for a donors’ conference.

She said peacebuilding required more than dealing with immediate threats to security.  The new leadership must continue to reach out to those groups that were still not part of the peace and reconciliation process.  It must also be able to respond to the people’s needs for basic services.  Norway had committed about $35 million annually to Somalia.   As for piracy, Norway would be sending a frigate to participate in the European UnionOperation Atalanta.  It also participated in the International Contact Group on piracy off the coast of Somalia.  A sustainable solution to the problem could only be found through a comprehensive approach, in which the Somali authorities -- including the regional government in Puntland -- would have to play a key role.  In that regard, it might be useful to establish closer cooperation and coordination between the present operations at sea and the authorities on land.

ZAINOL RAHIM ZAINUDDIN ( Malaysia) welcomed the strong commitment by the international community to solve the situation in Somalia.  He condemned acts of piracy and armed robberies at sea off the coast of Somalia.  The situation was a serious threat to global maritime trade.  It endangered the lives of crew members on board hijacked or attacked ships and caused serious impediments to the delivery of international humanitarian aid to Somalia and supplies to AMISOM.  Three Malaysian-flagged ships had been hijacked in the Gulf of Aden last August and September.  Malaysia had dispatched five royal Malaysian naval vessels to the Gulf of Aden in rotation to seek the release of the hijacked Malaysian ships.  The Malaysian navy provided escort and necessary security coverage to other Malaysian-flagged vessels plying the areas.  Malaysian vessels had also provided security upon request to other countries’ vessels and it had successfully thwarted a couple of attempts by pirates to board and hijack foreign ships.

Malaysia had raised serious concerns to the international community over the piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast, he said, including during the General Assembly’s sixty-third session and the September 2008 meeting between Malaysia’s Foreign Minister and the United Nations Secretary-General.  Malaysia had urged the international community to address the problem through concrete steps and a cooperation framework.  He welcomed anti-piracy efforts by Member States and regional organizations.  The United Nations should take a leadership role by establishing a naval peacekeeping force to combat piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast.  Counter-piracy actions should be carried out in a holistic manner, involving political solutions and reform of the security sector, as well as the economy and the human rights situation.

SAMIR HOSNI, Director of the African and Afro-Arab Cooperation Department of the League of Arab States, lauded the creation of the new Government in Somalia.  He reaffirmed the need to offer all forms of logistical and financial support to the Somali Government, so that it could implement programmes for reconciliation and security.  Although the Arab League was not a donor organization, last week it had transferred $1 million to the Somali Government so that it could start establishing security forces.  The Arab summit scheduled for the end of this month in Doha would have on its agenda in support for Somali institutions.  He welcomed and reaffirmed the positive direction of the Government of national unity in terms of reconciliation with all factions.  He urged all Somali factions to denounce violence and work towards reconciliation.

He also welcomed efforts by AMISOM and called on States to offer it urgent logistical and financial support, so that the African Union would be able to increase the size of the Mission to the authorized level of 8,000 troops.  He strongly condemned the recent attacks on AMISOM that had resulted in the death of peacekeepers.  He called on all parties to support AMISOM forces.  He called for support for the authorization for the United Nations to eventually take over responsibility for peacekeeping from AMISOM.  He noted the link between combating piracy and achieving sustainable peace, security and development.  It was necessary to show adequate support for and protect achievements made in combating piracy and working towards peace and reconciliation.

It was also necessary to prevent the situation from regressing, thus negatively impacting the political and security situation, he said.  Somalia’s reconstruction must be at the top of the agenda of international community.  The Arab League would hold a conference this year dedicated to the reconstruction of Somalia, in which the Somali Government would present development plans.  Arab investment funds would participate in it.

Concluding Remarks

In response to comments made, Mr. OMAAR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, said the international community and the Somali people were not only in partnership regarding Somalia, but regarding the subregion, as well.  The Somalis had delivered what they could do so far, he said, recalling that the new Government had only been established 30 days ago and that the pledging conference would take place in 30 days, leaving the Government only 40 days to achieve the targets it had set for its first 100 days.  That gave cause for some urgency.

He said that, on the plus side of the balance sheet, there was political will, there was momentum, there were joint security forces and there was a willingness of the international community and the regional countries.  The minus side showed spoilers who rejected peace and stability, piracy, lack of resources and past perceived history.  Nothing could be done about the past and the Government should not be held responsible.  Urgent assistance was needed to enable the Government to meet the targets for the first 100 days.  Peace could be established, more people could be brought into the peace process, but urgent attention was needed for AMISOM and the security forces, in parallel.

Mr. OULD-ABDALLAH, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, announced that the pledging conference would be held on 22 April.  He thanked the Council for the renewed interest and concern for the tragedy of Somalia and especially for the rejection of the permanent blackmail by a number of Somalis who realized the power of headlines.  Somalia was indeed in a difficult position, but it was not as bad as some wanted the world to believe.  He thanked the representative of the United States for bringing up the situation with Eritrea, a matter that should be addressed.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.