Secretary-General's Special Representative, Briefing Security Council, Appeals for Immediate International Action to Stabilize Somalia
Secretary-General's Special Representative, Briefing Security Council, Appeals for Immediate International Action to Stabilize Somalia
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6173rd Meeting (AM)
Secretary-General’s special representative, briefing Security Council, appeals
for immediate international action to stabilize somalia
“If not now, then when? If the Council does not act, then who will?” asked Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, today as he called on the international community to take immediate action to stabilize the situation in that country.
In a briefing to the Council, he said that, while Somalia was, indeed, a difficult case, challenges should not be a reason for inaction. As the Council considered Somalia for the second time in a month, the Transitional Federal Government was repelling multiple attempts to overthrow, while trying to overcome two decades of international scepticism. Today, the country was at a turning point. It was clear that its people and leaders rejected violence and those behind it. The support of the international community was, therefore, even more crucial, he emphasized.
Among concrete steps the Council could take, he said, were measures to provide immediate political and financial support to the Government; support the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM); and provide backing for the decisions taken by the subregional Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the African Union. Owing to their proximity, knowledge, and interest in Somalia, IGAD member States should be recognized as having a leading role on Somali issues.
He stressed that the temporary United Nations presence in Nairobi had lasted far too long. “We can only work effectively for peace with the Somalis and address pressing humanitarian needs if we are close to the victims of famine, violence and different abuses,” he added. The United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) and other leading entities of the Organization, as well as humanitarian groups, concerned diplomats and non-governmental organizations, should move to Mogadishu, the Somali capital. The establishment of a Green Zone, similar to those established elsewhere, would facilitate that process.
Also briefing the Council was Ramtane Lamamra, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, who added three key ideas on which bold and innovative measures should be based. First, the conflict should not be reduced to “a simple civil war”; it was the cause of wider regional instability and a source of insecurity on the largest scale. Secondly, the type of armed violence that had emerged since 12 May was aimed at making the country a lasting trouble spot. Somalia was being turned into a place that supported extremist practices that could endanger the wider region and the world. And third, the President and forces allied to him were acting in defence of Somalia and any contribution to AMISOM’s work should be viewed as part and parcel of the resistance to a global menace.
He said the African Union was working to develop a new partnership that would herald a qualitative step in the design of a peacekeeping operation. Its form and composition were to be determined by “imperative goals”, with one battalion from Burundi and Algerian air assets, supported by a United Nations logistics support module. Conditions were being put in place to enable the United Nations to assume a large share of responsibility in the country, which was “incumbent on it naturally”. Indeed, upgrading the effectiveness of regional and international institutions in Somalia would be a timely step in the right direction.
The Council also heard a statement by Somalia’s Foreign Minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar, who emphasized his Government’s political commitment to peace and reconciliation, pointing out that, in the end, Somalia’s problems must be solved by Somalis themselves. The Government was ready to incorporate into the Djibouti process any party agreeing to the re-establishment of the rule of law, and to sit at the negotiating table so as to determine the way forward. The proof of that was the Government’s recent agreement with an opposition group, Ahlu Sunna-wa Al Jamma. Similar efforts were going on within the country and in the diaspora.
Describing his country as a key factor for stability in the Horn of Africa, he also stressed the need to view Somalia within subregional context. The partnership with the international community must succeed, because its impact went far and wide beyond Somalia’s borders. Piracy was the proof of that, he said, requesting the Council’s support in that regard. Somalis could achieve peace and reconciliation if they could overcome external interference and the vested external interests wishing to sustain the conflict. The Government could ensure peace and reconciliation among Somalis, if given the opportunity to “close that external door”.
Taking the floor after the briefings, Members of the Council listed, among the priorities for Somalia, tackling the humanitarian crisis; supporting the political process; improving the security situation by working with AMISOM and the Transitional Federal Government; and ending off-shore piracy.
Several speakers also urged assistance to African States willing to provide troops for AMISOM, so that it could reach its full strength, and commended Uganda and Burundi for their contribution to the Mission. Some also expressed hope for accelerated efforts to transform the African Union Mission into a United Nations operation.
The representative of the Russian Federation said, however, that it was difficult to talk realistically about expanding the United Nations presence in Somalia. Though States must strive towards that goal, a more important challenge was ensuring that the environment was secure. Sustainable peace based on the Djibouti Agreement was the only way forward, and broad support by neighbouring countries was an important foundation for long-term recovery. Countries in the region should provide assistance in barring foreign mercenaries from bringing weapons and ammunition into Somalia. To further bolster security, AMISOM should be fully staffed and adequately equipped.
Expressing concern about the worsening humanitarian situation, in which 200,000 people had returned to Mogadishu only to be displaced again, the representative of the United States said the delivery of food and humanitarian assistance was challenging and sometimes impossible. He condemned violence against humanitarian personnel, particularly the looting of a United Nations compound where vaccines and nutritional supplements for women and children had been stored. The United States was addressing the humanitarian situation by contributing $149 million worth of food and non-food assistance since the start of the fiscal year, and urged other Member States to contribute to the Consolidated Appeal for Somalia, which was only 40 per cent funded.
Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Libya, Burkina Faso, Austria, Japan, France, Viet Nam, Costa Rica, Mexico, Turkey, Croatia, China and Uganda.
The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and ended at 12:15 p.m.
The Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in Somalia. Members had before them the report of the Secretary-General on that country (document S/2009/373).
AHMEDOU OULD-ABDALLAH, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, said that, despite multiple constraints, the Government was repelling multiple attempts to overthrow it and forcibly seize power. It was also overcoming two decades of scepticism over Somalia. Today, the country was at a turning point. It was clear that the population and leaders rejected violence and those behind it. Therefore, the support of the international community was even more crucial at the present time.
Recognizing once again the extraordinary help provided by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the League of Arab States, the African Union, the European Union and Commission, the Contact Group and others, he said those players had mobilized quickly to provide critical assistance on the ground, as pledged during the Brussels Conference in April. To facilitate that process and ensure transparency, the Government had employed the services of an international accounting firm. The Government had also made significant progress in training, equipping and paying its security forces, though more needed to be done, especially in the area of coordination and organization.
At the same time, the political process was also moving forward, he said. The Djibouti Agreement, signed in August 2008, remained open to those wishing to resolve the situation in Somalia through peaceful means. The Government had recently signed an important agreement with the well-respected religious group Ahlu Sunna-wa Al Jamma. The accord also included some elements of the opposition, and one of its leaders had become a Deputy Minister. That open-door policy should continue, and it was understood that the Government would welcome members of those currently in the opposition. Somalis should discuss peace among themselves in their own country, and those who failed to join the peace process would miss an opportunity to contribute to rebuilding the country.
The time had come to focus on the need of ordinary Somali citizens to alleviate hunger and to protect them from fear, he said. Their country had been taken hostage by a small group interested only in immediate profits. Indeed, insecurity had become a source of revenue and power. The Somali people had endured too much, and their suffering must be ended. He condemned the abduction of all innocent Somalis and foreigners being held for ransom, and called for their unconditional release. Likewise, he condemned the looting of United Nations offices in south-central Somalia, as well as efforts to silence the media through intimidation, extortion and the targeted killing of journalists.
The question of justice must be addressed seriously, he said, underscoring that fighting impunity and various abuses against civilians should remain high on the agenda. The international community should help Somalis decide the way forward, he added, noting that his Office was organizing a meeting on that issue in August. The Monitoring Group based in Nairobi was active in trying to identify those who might face sanctions.
Past failures should not discourage the international community from taking action to help stability, he said. In the short and medium term, there were concrete steps to be taken by the Council. While the Government had made important strides, it still required immediate political and financial support, to improve the situation. The authorities in Puntland and Somaliland also needed resources to ensure that their stability endured.
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) also needed immediate and concrete support, he said, noting that the African Union troops had shown remarkable courage and dedication in solidarity with the Somali people, and deserved the backing of all Council members. The subregional Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the African Union also needed support in their decisions on Somalia. Due to their proximity, knowledge, and interest in the country, IGAD member States should be recognized as having a leading role on Somali issues.
The time had come for the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) to show it was serious about moving to Somalia, he continued, pointing out that its temporary presence in Nairobi had lasted far too long. “We can only work effectively for peace with the Somalis and address pressing humanitarian needs if we are close to the victims of famine, violence and different abuses,” he said. UNPOS and other leading United Nations entities, including humanitarian ones, and concerned diplomats and non-governmental organizations, should move to Mogadishu. The establishment of a Green Zone, similar to those elsewhere, would facilitate that process.
Continuing support against piracy was also needed, he emphasized. The international maritime presence had been a remarkable and effective show of solidarity. It should continue, with support from the Somali coastguard. At the same time, the problems at hand, particularly the issue of youth employment, must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Somalia was, indeed, a difficult case, but that should not be a reason for inaction, he said, adding that the international community must never surrender its obligation towards the Somali people. Effective action was needed now. “If not now, then when?” If the Council did not act, then who would? “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” he quoted, emphasizing that if the Council could help to restore stability, it would go a long way towards elevating further the reputation of the United Nations in Africa.
RAMTANE LAMAMRA, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, said the situation in Somalia was difficult and volatile, but not desperate or insurmountable. The Transitional Federal Government, under the leadership of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, had brought about marked improvements in governance. It aimed to be transparent and responsive to the Somali people, who had suffered a long time without the rule of law through periods of “fratricidal hostilities”.
The Transitional Federal Institutions were trying to rally political movements working within Somalia to launch a healthy dynamic that would help extricate the country from crisis, he said. However, anti-peace forces inside and out had redoubled their activism, with the intent of destroying the peace process and upending the national reconciliation process that the rest of Africa and the international community were trying to support. Transitional Federal Government forces were struggling to build a robust structure that would enable it to overcome the dangers arising from piracy, endemic instability and other threats.
Noting that the African Union’s Conference of Heads of State and Government and its Peace and Security Council had recently reaffirmed their “action-oriented positions” on Somalia, in line with demands by IGAD, he said he wished to add three key ideas on which bold and innovative measures should be based. First, the conflict should not be reduced to “a simple civil war”; it was the cause of wider regional instability and a source of insecurity on the largest scale. Secondly, the type of armed violence that had emerged since 12 May was aimed at making the country a lasting trouble spot. Somalia was being turned into a place that supported extremist practices that could endanger the wider region and the world. And third, the President and forces allied to him were acting in defence of Somalia and any contribution to AMISOM’s work should be viewed as part and parcel of the resistance to a global menace.
Beyond continuing efforts to strengthen AMISOM and help establish a Somali security force, he said, Member States should consider protecting the country’s air space and territorial waters so they would not be used for the passage of weapons, ammunition or foreign combatants. In addition, protective activities should not be limited to places where insurgents were visible, such as Mogadishu. The Transitional Federal Government and its forces should be extended gradually to other parts of the country, including those with distinctive strategic, symbolic and spiritual importance.
He said the African Union was working to develop a new partnership that would herald a qualitative step in the design of a peacekeeping operation. Its form and composition were to be determined by imperative goals, with one battalion from Burundi and Algerian air assets, supported by a United Nations logistics support module. Conditions were being put in place to enable the United Nations to assume a large share of responsibility in the country, which was “incumbent on it naturally”. Indeed, upgrading the effectiveness of regional and international institutions in Somalia would be a timely step in the right direction.
MOHAMED ABDULLAHI OMAAR, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Somalia, said that, in the end, Somalia’s problems must be solved by Somalis themselves, a responsibility that lay not only with the Government, but also with the people. The Somali people and the international community had come to a decision that continual “reinvention of the wheel” in repeated conferences had come to an end, and now was the moment to rebuild an institutional base and operational State that would bring stability.
“In partnership, we are now of like mind that this has to work, this has to be put in place, so that the State can be rebuilt properly,” he said, emphasizing that the Government’s political commitment to peace and reconciliation was neither temporary nor limited at all. The Government was willing and ready to incorporate into the Djibouti process any party agreeing to the re-establishment of the rule of law, and to sit at the negotiating table so as to determine the way forward. The proof of that was the Government’s recent agreement with Ahlu Sunna-wa Al Jamma. Similar efforts were going on within the country and in the diaspora.
At the international level, he said, the Government was very grateful for the support of the African Union, whose recent Summit had endorsed the proposals that Somali and IGAD had put to assembled Heads of State and Government. An IGAD ministerial meeting had since concluded that, aside from the actions of the international community and the Security Council, there was a need to work on a subregional basis. A decision had been taken to impose local sanctions against individuals acting as the “spoilers” of the peace process.
On the military side, it was now clear that attempts to overthrow the Government had run out of steam and would not succeed, he said. That had led to a change of tactics, of which hostage-taking and abuse of United Nations institutions and facilities were the result. In the future, a parallel programme of expanded suicide bombings could be expected as another tactic seeking to destabilize the situation.
Emphasizing the need to view Somalia within the subregional context, he said his country was a key factor for stability in the subregion, which had undergone a 50-year cycle of war. “The peace we want is a subregional peace, and the stability of Somalia is its cornerstone,” he emphasized. The partnership with the international community must succeed, because its impact was far and wide beyond Somalia’s borders. Piracy was the proof of that, he said, requesting the Council’s support in that regard. Somalis could achieve peace and reconciliation if they could overcome external interference and the vested external interests wishing to sustain the conflict. The Government could ensure peace and reconciliation among Somalis, if given the opportunity to close that external door.
DAVID QUARREY (United Kingdom) said the Council’s focus on Somalia was correct because the situation in the country presented a clear threat to the region and beyond. In addition, the ongoing violence there was causing unnecessary suffering to an already long-suffering people. In previous statements to the Council, former Permanent Representative John Sawers had laid out what the United Kingdom viewed as priority areas: tackling the humanitarian crisis by delivering basic security, food and health care; providing support to the political process by building on the Djibouti Agreement; improving the security situation by working with AMISOM and the Transitional Federal Government; and dealing with the ongoing threat of piracy. In terms of the last issue, the international community must continue its work on sea and land, combating piracy itself, as well as its root causes.
He said today’s briefings confirmed that those were the right priorities. It was encouraging to hear of progress, but while training for the Somali security forces was an important contribution, there was a need to do more. Member States must think of ways in which they could also extend their support. Paying tribute to Uganda and Burundi for their troop contributions, he encouraged other African Union members to play a role, and called for actions to improve stability in areas controlled by the Transitional Federal Government. The Government should set out its needs so that others could respond accordingly. The United Kingdom looked forward to the upcoming report of the Sanctions Committee, especially against the backdrop of reports concerning individuals and entities that were actively arming the insurgents seeking to topple the Transitional Federal Government. The Council should act quickly and decisively against them.
IBRAHIM DABBASHI (Libya) said he was very concerned about the violent attempts to overthrow the Transitional Federal Government at a time when it was continuously convincing armed opposition groups to participate in the peace process, and conducting consultations with religious and community leaders. Its actions enjoyed popular support and the international community should intensify its financial and political assistance to help the Government extend its authority all over the national territory. He also welcomed the agreement with Ahlu Sunna-wa Al Jamma, but expressed concern about the presence of foreign elements among the armed opposition groups, which sought to bring their own agenda to the country.
Urging assistance to African States willing to contribute troops to AMISOM, so that the mission could reach its full strength, he commended Uganda and Burundi for their efforts to bring security and peace to the Somali people, and expressed hope for accelerated efforts to transform the African Union Mission into a United Nations operation. As for piracy, dealing with that challenge in the long term required a comprehensive approach that would end the conflict and restore stability, while allowing the Government to expand its authority throughout the country and provide sustainable sources of income to the population.
Noting that violence had led to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, he said 260 civilians had been killed recently, and 2,400 displaced from Mogadishu, the capital. The number of refugees had also grown by 30 per cent this year. Libya called on all States to continue providing humanitarian and reconstruction assistance. The World Food Programme (WFP) was still in need of $136 million to feed more than over 3 million individuals. Finally, he expressed deep concern about the reported recruitment of children, and called for those responsible to end the practice.
KONSTANTIN K. DOLGOV ( Russian Federation) said he understood the Minister’s aspirations to see positive developments in his country, but the overall picture was extremely alarming. Attacks, killings and abductions were causing concern, as were illegal actions against United Nations establishments. Attacks against Government and African Union forces undermined attempts to re-establish effective governance. Somalis should mobilize to strengthen Government control, and the international community must train its focus primarily on strengthening security.
Unfortunately, it was difficult to talk realistically about expanding the United Nations presence in Somalia, he said. Though States must strive towards that goal, a more important challenge was ensuring that the environment was secure. Sustainable peace based on the Djibouti Agreement was the only way forward. Broad support by neighbouring countries was an important foundation for long-term recovery. Countries in the region should provide assistance in barring foreign mercenaries from bringing weapons and ammunition into Somalia in violation of Council resolutions. To further bolster security, AMISOM should be fully staffed and adequately equipped.
Turning to the humanitarian situation, he expressed concern about human rights violations, emphasizing that socio-economic development should be considered as a component of re-stabilization. However, a satisfactory solution to the country’s problems was impossible without first improving the security situation. On piracy, the Russian Federation noted the international community’s energetic efforts to provide assistance to the coast guard, and called for the creation of a legal structure to prosecute those responsible. Legal assistance from neighbouring countries could well play an important role. There must be greater coordination within the international community to eradicate the pirates’ infrastructure and financial support.
ANTOINE SOMDAH (Burkina Faso), reaffirming his country’s commitment to the Djibouti process, commended Transitional Federal Government’s efforts to make contact with opposition groups that were not yet party to the reconciliation process, in particular its signing of the declaration on cooperation with Ahlu Sunna-wa Al Jamma. It should also continue its consultations with clan and religious leaders to strengthen the base of support for the peace process.
He condemned targeted attacks against Government forces by armed groups, supported by foreign elements, which had claimed a large number of victims and led to the assassination of the Interior Minister. Member States must abide by the arms embargo and refrain from providing support to armed groups. Reiterating support for the legitimate authorities and the African Union position in that regard, he called for follow-up action on a request for the immediate imposition of a no-fly zone to help enforce it.
Welcoming the support of the United Nations for efforts to rebuild Somalia’s institutions, he said the pledges made in Brussels should be honoured. In that connection, the start of training for new police officers was encouraging, and it was to be hoped that it would continue and be expanded. At the present stage, however, only the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force could be used as a means of last resort to stabilize Somalia. He encouraged the Secretariat to continue its support for AMISOM, and thanked Uganda and Burundi for their significant efforts. Burkina Faso reconfirmed its commitment to the African force and condemned any attack against AMISOM.
ALEJANDRO WOLFF (United States) condemned in the strongest terms the military offensive designed to overthrow the Transitional Federal Government, as well as the 19 July raids by Al Shabaab on premises of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Department of Safety and Security and UNPOS. The insurgents were recruiting fighters from abroad and collaborating with Al-Qaida. They had ratcheted up their bomb attacks and targeted assassinations to intimidate the Somali people into submission. In its drive to gain power, Al Shabaab had also recruited children.
Echoing the Special Representative’s call on donors to provide military support to the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM, he urged them also to fulfil their Brussels pledges, noting that AMISOM was short of four battalions and had little over half of its mandated 8,000 troops. The United States acknowledged pledges by Sierra Leone and Malawi to provide one battalion each, as well as Burundi for its contribution of a third battalion.
Expressing concern about the worsening humanitarian situation, in which 200,000 people had returned to Mogadishu only to be displaced again, he said the delivery of food and humanitarian assistance was challenging and sometimes impossible. He condemned violence against humanitarian personnel, particularly the looting of a United Nations compound where vaccines and nutritional supplements for women and children had been stored. The United States was addressing the humanitarian situation by contributing $149 million worth of food and non-food assistance since the start of the fiscal year, and urged other Member States to contribute to the Consolidated Appeal for Somalia, which was only 40 per cent funded.
Encouraged by the Somali President’s efforts to reach out to opposition groups despite the challenges, he welcomed the Transitional Federal Government’s declaration of cooperation with Ahlu Sunna-wa Al Jamaa, and its engagement in institution-building efforts, including its steps to hold parliamentary and cabinet sessions despite attacks on Mogadishu.
Turning to the question of piracy, he expressed concern at the “exponential increase in activity” and the use of more sophisticated weapons by the pirates. It was a symptom of, and a contributing factor to, instability and insecurity in Somalia. Since paying ransom would perpetuate piracy, the United States did not offer concessions to hostage takers, whether they were driven by political or financial motivations. As for Eritrea’s actions in Somalia, he reiterated that the United States would not engage with that country unless it ended its destabilizing activities in the Horn of Africa. So far, Eritrea had refused those terms with the “window rapidly closing”.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING (Austria), reiterating his country’s support for the Djibouti process and the Government’s efforts to reach agreement with opposition groups, condemned attempts to overthrow the Government and the looting of United Nations premises. Austria was concerned about reported external support to the insurgents and noted the African Union’s deep concern regarding arms supplies to insurgent groups. That was an issue that the Council should consider carefully.
Uganda and Burundi were a crucial factor in bringing stability to Somalia, he said, adding that AMISOM’s mandate appeared sufficiently flexible. However, the Mission must reach its mandated strength and capability. The European Union had agreed to step up its support, including maritime capability. At the same time, the efforts of a great number of international actors to curb piracy could not meet with lasting success without addressing the root causes of conflict and the issue of accountability.
Condemning widespread violations by insurgents, including extrajudicial executions, torture and the use of civilians as human shields, he said those abuses might constitute war crimes and those responsible should be held accountable. He also deplored the recruitment of children, noting the proposal that AMISOM incorporate child advisers into its staff. Austria was also concerned about the dramatic humanitarian situation in Somalia.
YUKIO TAKASU (Japan), condemning attacks against humanitarian workers and United Nations premises, as well as the abduction of French personnel, called for the immediate release of hostages. Heartened by the Transitional Federal Government’s active effort to maintain security, he said the international community should make every possible show of support for the Government. It had made commendable progress on the political process, and hopefully opposition groups would follow the example of Ahlu Sunna-Wa Jamaa and join the Djibouti peace process.
Noting that AMISOM played an indispensable role in supporting the Transitional Federal Government, he said it was essential to strengthen the Mission. Japan was grateful to Uganda and Burundi for their contributions, and the international community should extend every support to build AMISOM up to its mandated troop strength. It was a challenge to deliver a logistical package to AMISOM in a timely way, and Japan, therefore, commended the Secretariat’s efforts in that regard.
The international community must enhance its support for the Transitional Federal Government, he said, noting that the country’s instability was caused by internal and external factors. It was essential to cut off external assistance to rebel groups, and countries in the region must come together to assist the Transitional Federal Government. Japan stood ready to take active part in discussion by the Sanctions Committee to determine future courses of action.
The effort to define the Somali national security strategy should be promoted further with the support of UNPOS, he said, welcoming international support for the programme to recruit and train 10,000 Somali police force personnel by June 2010. Japan planned to disburse $9 million to the AMISOM Support Trust Fund, part of which would be used to train police. To combat piracy, Japan was providing two destroyers and two maritime patrol aircraft. Further, it had enacted a new law to penalize piracy and started to protect foreign vessels. Japan would chair the fourth plenary meeting of the contact group on piracy, on 10 September. In light of the importance of combating piracy through measures on land, Japan planned to establish a working group on that issue within the Contact Group framework.
JEAN-PIERRE LACROIX (France) said radical groups had not been able to overthrow the Government, but they were still creating a climate of violence and instability, thus compounding the suffering of the population, more than 3 million of whom were now dependent on humanitarian assistance. He also condemned attacks on United Nations personnel, which were slowing down the Organization’s activities in the country.
Turning to the main courses of action for the international community, he emphasized the need to provide tangible support to the Somali security forces, noting that training was being provided to police units. It was also vital to strengthen support to the Government. France acknowledged the contributions of Uganda and Burundi to AMISOM, and recalled that their battalions had recently proven their ability to force a withdrawal of insurgent armed groups. However, weather conditions would now be in favour of the pirates, he warned.
LE LUONG MINH (Viet Nam) said he was encouraged by the political progress achieved under the Djibouti Agreement, and commended President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s efforts to encourage parties outside that accord to join the national reconciliation process. However, the security situation remained troubling, with attacks by Al-Shabaab against the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM intensifying. Their attempts to overthrow the legally constituted Government were to be condemned, as were attacks against United Nations entities. He also expressed concern about the humanitarian situation, noting that more than a million people had been displaced and over 3 million were “on the verge of starvation”.
Vigorous international support was needed to repel the onslaught of extremist forces intent on destroying the Djibouti peace process and spoiling efforts at reconciliation, he said. Viet Nam supported the Secretary-General’s call for Member States and regional organizations to expedite contributions to the United Nations Trust Fund, as well as the bilateral support pledged in Brussels for the Transitional Federal Government.
He expressed support for the strengthening of AMISOM, and appreciation for the contributions made by Uganda and Burundi, as well as other African Union member States that had pledged troops. On piracy, he noted the progress achieved by the international community in addressing that problem, but cautioned that, in the long run, it could only be thoroughly resolved through an integrated approach. Issues that must be addressed included conflict, lack of governance and the absence of sustainable livelihoods in Somalia.
CHRISTIAN GUILLERMET (Costa Rica), concerned about the resurgence of violence in Somalia and the rising number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the climate of instability, said the international community must fulfil the commitments made in Brussels and make contributions to the Trust Fund. Indifference would only strengthen the position of insurgent groups. The situation was further undermined by the reported influence of arms, munitions and combatants from abroad. The Somali people themselves must take control of the situation, including within the Djibouti peace process.
Paying tribute to the efforts of the Special Representative and his team, he noted that the African Union had added reinforcements to AMISOM, and welcomed the pledges of additional battalions from Sierra Leone and Malawi. New sources of concern, however, were the worsening humanitarian situation, difficulties in providing humanitarian assistance, and the reported recruitment and use of child soldiers.
Noting progress in counter-piracy activities, which had led to greater access for humanitarian assistance, he pointed out, however, that pirate attacks were increasingly sophisticated. To tackle that problem, it was necessary to resolve logistical problems. Stabilizing the situation in Somalia would obviate the urge to engage in piracy. Costa Rica supported the three-stage approach adopted by the Transitional Federal Government and welcomed the help provided in developing the country’s security forces.
CLAUDE HELLER (Mexico) paid tribute to the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM for the efforts to stabilize the country, and expressed hope that the reinforcements announced by other African Union member States would materialize promptly, since the basis for sustainable peace lay in political stability, a sense of security and development.
The worsening security conditions facing humanitarian personnel were unacceptable, he said, noting that WFP and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had been forced to suspend food distribution and health activities. It was important for States to reaffirm their obligation to uphold respect for, and to enforce, international humanitarian law at all times. Equally vital was protecting civilians, as well as United Nations and humanitarian organizations. There was also a need to halt and prevent the recruitment of child soldiers.
He called for the establishment of a security zone to protect Somalia’s ports and enable national institutions to thrive, while ensuring an international presence. Agreeing with the Special Representative that insecurity had become a source of earnings and power, he said the Council must take into account the African Union’s appeal for a no-fly zone and for the creation of a mechanism to prevent the entry of weapons from abroad. Another consideration was the need to impose sanctions on Eritrea for its part in fuelling the conflict. As for piracy, Mexico favoured the creation of an additional working group within the Contact Group to consider counter-piracy initiatives.
FAZLI ÇORMAN (Turkey) said that the convening of a second meeting on Somalia in the same month testified to the importance that the Council attached to the situation in that country, and to peace and stability in the Horn of Africa in general. Positive developments notwithstanding, the situation had not yet reached an irreversible phase. He welcomed the Government’s open-door policy vis-à-vis opposition groups, since there could be no military solution and the only way towards peace was through the Djibouti process. Turkey’s support for the Transitional Federal Government had been reiterated during a visit by the President of Somalia in April.
Commending AMISOM’s crucial role, he expressed gratitude to Uganda and Burundi for their support and encouraged other African Union member States to follow suit. Besides the necessity to bolster the Mission’s technical capacity, expeditious deployment of the United Nations support package was vital, as was the early transfer of the funds pledged in Brussels. Turkey had already transferred half of its pledge for AMISOM and was prepared to train its peacekeepers and police officers, in cooperation with the United Nations.
He also expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in Somalia as a consequence of intensified fighting. As reported, some instances of violence amounted to war crimes, and the effective implementation of sanctions could come into the picture in that regard. As for the international efforts to combat piracy, Turkey had, among other things, contributed to anti-piracy efforts by providing two brigades and closely cooperating with countries of the region.
RANKO VILOVIĆ (Croatia) expressed concern about the dire security situation and reiterated his country’s support for the Transitional Federal Government. Croatia commended the Government’s efforts to create an inclusive political process, and added its voice to calls for all Somali stakeholders to opt for dialogue by joining the Djibouti process. He condemned attempts to destabilize the Transitional Federal Institutions, and voiced particular concern about the training and recruitment of child soldiers.
Noting the instances of foreign interference in connection with insurgent attacks, he said he was heartened to hear the Foreign Minister say that, without such interference, the Transitional Federal Government would finally be able to ensure peace and security. On that issue, Croatia was ready to act on the basis of reports by the Monitoring Group.
He called on troop-contributing countries to fulfil their pledges to AMISOM, and on donors to honour their bilateral pledges, as well as contributions to the Trust Fund. He said an improved security sector was the backbone of Somalia’s future stability, and in that context, Croatia was pleased to contribute to, and participate in, the European Union’s “Operation Atalanta” to stem Somali piracy.
LU ZHENMIN (China) expressed deep concern about the grave situation in Somalia and stressed the need to quickly stabilize the situation there. The establishment of sufficient Somali security forces was crucial in that regard and China welcomed a recent meeting of the Joint Security Committee in Mogadishu, as well as international efforts to assist the Government within the legitimate framework of sanctions exemptions.
Noting that some countries had pledged reinforcements to AMISOM, he said he looked forward to the Mission’s full deployment, emphasizing that the international community must honour its commitments in that regard. It was also important for the United Nations to provide a logistics package to AMISOM. China supported the continuation of national reconciliation talks and urged all Somali parties to renounce force and solve their differences through peaceful means. He also appealed to the countries of the region to exert their influence on the parties in order to ensure the success of the peace process.
Council President RUHAKANA RUGUNDA (Uganda), speaking in his national capacity, condemned attacks on the Transitional Federal Government, civilians and AMISOM by insurgents and foreign elements in an attempt to undermine the political process. Any attempt to oust the Government was “totally unacceptable”. As such, Uganda called on armed groups to embrace the Djibouti Agreement as the best way to advance the political process. It also called on those within and outside the region to end their support for the insurgents.
He welcomed the launching on 25 July of the Joint Security Committee, which was one of the institutions provided for in the Djibouti Agreement. Its significance lay in its coordinating function in support of security-sector institutions, and in facilitating the disbursement of the pledges made in Brussels. He called on the United Nations and others to help AMISOM implement its mandate, and welcomed additional pledges of troops announced recently.
To build on the progress achieved so far, it was critically important to complete the deployment of AMISOM, including its civilian component. For UNPOS and other United Nations entities to relocate to Somalia, full deployment would help strengthen the Government and signal the international community’s full support of the Transitional Federal Government and the people of Somalia.
He recalled that on 9 July the Security Council had adopted a presidential statement taking note of the African Union Summit’s declaration urging the imposition of sanctions on those supporting to groups that undermined peace in Somalia and contributing to regional instability. The Council had expressed its readiness to consider action against any party doing so, and Uganda would support any action by the Council in that regard.
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