Security Council Told of Some Progress in Somalia Situation, with Many Challenges Still Needing International Attention

8 October 2009
SC/9761

Security Council Told of Some Progress in Somalia Situation, with Many Challenges Still Needing International Attention

8 October 2009
Security Council
SC/9761
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6197th Meeting (AM)

Security Council Told of Some Progress in Somalia Situation, with Many Challenges

Still Needing International Attention

 

Delegates Look to Transition of African Union Mission to UN Peacekeeping Operation

Targeted sanctions could be an effective way to deal with “spoilers” in Somalia, but the approach must be flexible enough to allow them to change course and work for peace, B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Security Council this morning.

After years of conflict, peace would not come to Somalia overnight, he said as he briefed the Council along with Craig Boyd, Director of the United Nations Support Operation to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).  Stability must be promoted, he added, and national and external spoilers must be neutralized.

The past few months had not been easy, Mr. Pascoe pointed out, but he commended the Transitional Federal Government for overcoming repeated attacks by heavily armed groups.  He said that police and troops loyal to the Government were being trained, with the international community’s support, and there was slow but notable progress towards stability, adding that the determined commitment of AMISOM and the African Union to remain fully focused on Somalia was all the more impressive given the deadly suicide bombing last month at the AMISOM Headquarters in the troubled capital city of Mogadishu.

Mr. Boyd, speaking on behalf of Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Susana Malcorra, described the provision of the support package for AMISOM and the strengthening of Somalia’s security sector, mandated under the first phase of incremental United Nations security support to the country.  Thanking donors, he said that confirmed pledges totalled some $200 million, but a critical gap still remained between that figure and donor disbursements.  The situation would be discussed tomorrow at a meeting to follow up on the April donors’ conference. 

Contributions to the AMISON trust fund stood at almost $25 million, or 80 per cent of total pledges, he said.  Expenditure from the fund should begin shortly, with reimbursements for non-lethal equipment, radio broadcasting and other public information in Mogadishu and earlier medical costs representing priority expenses.

He said the current military strength of AMISON in Mogadishu stood at about 5,200 troops, or 65 per cent of the mandated force of 8,000 troops.  Burundi and Uganda had each deployed three battalions and both countries had offered to provide a fourth battalion, which, along with the offer of Djibouti to contribute a special-forces unit of 400 troops, would bring the Mission close to its mandated strength. 

The General Assembly, he said, had approved funding of $139 million for the support package which had so far provided food to AMISOM troops and concluded a fuel contract.  Other United Nations arrangements for AMISOM already in place, or nearly so, included medical facilities, Mission headquarters, a strategic communications network and maritime transport, which had brought field defence stores, medical supplies, an airport fire-fighting vehicle and a range of engineering equipment

He stressed that the Department of Field Support was fully committed to supporting AMISOM, but Mogadishu was currently a very challenging environment and attacks would potentially slow the full delivery of the mandated support package.  He saluted AMISOM for the commitment and resilience of its personnel and stressed the close working relationship his office had with the Mission.  He also thanked the Government of Kenya for its cooperation and provision of land for a logistics support base.

Following those presentations, Council members strongly supported the recent work of AMISOM and the transitional Government in the face of extreme security challenges, expressing their condolences to the Mission’s contingents there for losses in the attacks of 17 September and calling for firm action to deal with “spoilers”.  Most also commended Uganda and Burundi for their troop contributions, and called on those nations that had pledged additional troops to realize those pledges.  Many also urged the international community to make good on their financial commitments.

Most speakers also supported the three-phased approach to United Nations involvement in Somalia, which had begun with the support package and would progress to a “light footprint” for the Organization on the ground, followed by a transition from AMISOM to a United Nations peacekeeping mission, if the Council determined that conditions permitted it.

Uganda’s representative, however, urged a faster deployment of security assistance, given the dire situation.   It was necessary to ask whether the current approach was commensurate with the threat on the ground.  In addition, he advocated more assistance in humanitarian and governance sectors, to give the Somali people a source of hope. 

Speaking after Council Members, the representative of Somalia thanked all of those who were assisting his country, and agreed with Uganda’s call for an acceleration of the incremental approach to security support, saying his Government would welcome the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers, and the sooner the better.

Also speaking this morning were the representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Turkey, Japan, Russian Federation, China, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Austria, Mexico, France, Croatia, Libya and Viet Nam.

The meeting, which opened at 10:12 a.m., closed at 12:23 p.m.

Background

The Council had before it the Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia pursuant to Security Council resolution 1872 (2009) (document S/2009/503), which provides an update on major developments in Somalia and the prospects for moving forward in incremental steps towards the transition to a possible United Nations peacekeeping mission there from the current African Union force known as AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia).

The report says that in recent months, Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government has successfully weathered threats to its existence from extremist forces and garnered substantial domestic and international support, along with progress in fostering national reconciliation, building capacity for local governance, drafting the constitution, integrating human rights into the peace process and building a national security apparatus.

“I urge the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia to stay the course, and I appeal to the international community to redouble its support and rally solidly behind the Government,” the Secretary-General writes.

Continuing insecurity, however, continues to limit the incremental build-up of a United Nations presence to the first phase described in the Secretary-General’s April report (S/2009/210), according to the current report, which adds that the incremental approach will continue to be followed.  In the coming period, the United Nations will continue supporting AMISOM, rebuilding Somalia’s security institutions, intensifying engagement with the relatively calm Somaliland and Puntland regions and conducting missions to Mogadishu to monitor mandated activities.

Preparations for the shift to the second, “light footprint” phase had already begun, while the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), in consultation with the African Union, further develops and refines existing contingency plans “that will allow, security permitting and if the Security Council so decides, for the eventual transition from AMISOM to a United Nations peacekeeping force in Somalia”.

The Secretary-General says that further progress to promote the peace process requires greater capacity on the part of the Transitional Federal Government to consolidate its authority, deliver administration and basic services, and effectively manage the transition.  “The sustained support of the international community will constitute a key contribution to this end,” he says.

He goes on to say that stabilizing the security situation in the capital, Mogadishu, remains a critical prerequisite to foster the peace process, as demonstrated by the 17 September suicide attack on AMISOM’s headquarters in which more than 20 members of the force were killed.

“The UN will not be deterred by violent attacks by insurgents and will remain committed to continuing support to AMISOM, the Transitional Federal Government and the Somali people to facilitate reconciliation and consolidate the political process”, he states, while calling on the international community to boost support to the African Union Mission and Government security forces.

He adds that a more secure environment would also further facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance in the country, where half the population of nearly 7 million is dependent on aid.

There are around 1.5 million internally displaced persons in the country, and another 160,000 people have been uprooted since early May by fighting between Government forces and Al Shabaab and Hisb-ul-Islam opposition groups.

The Secretary-General states that he remains “deeply concerned” about the worsening humanitarian crisis in Somalia, noting that assassinations, abductions and threats against aid workers have rendered the delivery of assistance extremely dangerous, while ongoing fighting and drought are increasing the need for life-saving support.

“I call upon all parties to help create conditions conducive to safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access and to cooperate with humanitarian actors to this end,” he says.

He also voices concern about the lack of adequate funding for priority humanitarian and recovery programmes, and he urges Member States to support those efforts.

Briefings

When the Council met, B. LYNN PASCOE, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said that after almost two decades of violence, stability would not come overnight to Somalia.  However, in the Djibouti Agreement, there was a structure that provided a path to follow as the Government, supported by the international community, moved towards restoring peace and security.  First, the focus had been on enabling the Government to strengthen its security structures.  The past few months had not been easy, but the Government had overcome repeated attacks by foreign-funded and heavily armed groups.  Police and troops loyal to the Government were being trained, thanks to the international community’s commitment and support.  There was slow but notable progress towards stability.  The determined commitment of AMISOM and the African Union to remain fully focused on Somalia had been crucial.  That was all the more impressive, given the suicide bombing last month at the AMISOM Headquarters in Mogadishu.

A top priority at present to support the Government’s efforts at maintaining security must be financial support, he continued. In that regard, it was important to recognize significant strides being made by the Government itself towards managing its resources.  The most crucial element for international assistance was speed.  Money received today in Somalia would have a far greater impact on stability than that which arrived in three months’ time.  Extremely generous pledges had been made in Brussels in April, and they needed to be fulfilled immediately.

He said Under-Secretary-General Susana Malcorra and himself would hold a meeting tomorrow with key donors to assess the situation in that regard.  In order to speed up the process, he suggested that in addition to contributing to the trust funds, some of the development partners could start implementing direct bilateral economic and financial cooperation with Somalia.  The contract signed by the Somali Government with an internationally recognized auditing firm should be fully used to increase the transparency and confidence in the use of such funding.

There was also an urgent need to deliver additional resources to the African Union and AMISOM, he said. The Department of Field Support was doing an excellent job in providing equipment and other logistical support through the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM.

On the political level, he remarked on the Government’s continued openness to dialogue with all parties ready to commit themselves to peace.  Internal political dialogue was supported by the United Nations and members of the international community.  Meanwhile, Somaliland had again demonstrated its long tradition of resolving peacefully its internal political disputes.  To support political dialogue, the United Nations was increasing the number of visits of senior United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) staff to Mogadishu and continuing to work towards a significant presence on the ground.  Establishing a secure facility for the international community’s representatives in Mogadishu remained a top priority.  Moving part of operations from Nairobi to Mogadishu would greatly add to the Organization’s effectiveness and credibility as it joined representatives of the African Union, League of Arab States (LAS), Libya and Yemen already in Mogadishu.  Work also continued to assist the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African organization for the region, which could wield considerable influence on local and regional actors and perform an essential role for stability in Somalia.

The humanitarian situation in the country had worsened dramatically, because of intensified fighting in Mogadishu and growing insecurity in much of southern and central Somalia and deepening drought.  In August, he continued, the latest United Nations food security assessment had calculated that some 3.7 million people (50 per cent of the population) were in need of livelihood and humanitarian support, up from 3.2 million in January this year.  The World Food Programme (WFP) urgently required $217 million to cover the shortfalls of 216,000 metric tons of food from September 2009 through March 2010.  Water, sanitation and health activities remained seriously under-funded at 19 per cent.  There was also a need for development assistance to begin the reconstruction of Somalia.

On piracy, he praised the critical role played by the international maritime presence off Somalia’s coast and thanked the Government of Japan for facilitating the fourth meeting of the Contact Group for Combating Piracy in New York last month.  During that meeting, it had again been recognized that the core of the problem was the lack of security on land.  It was critical to strengthen the central Government and regional authorities, to help provide economic opportunities for fishing communities and other rural populations.  Assistance to Somalia to establish and train a coast guard and rebuild its navy would be essential in the long run.  A recent agreement between the Government and Puntland was a step in the right direction and deserved assistance.  The United Nations continued to support prosecution efforts of suspected pirates by regional countries and through the United Nations Offices.  The United Nations was in the process of establishing a trust fund for anti-piracy activities, the terms of reference for which had been approved by the Contact Group.  He urged all relevant actors to work closely with the international community and Somalia Government in the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia.  In addition to capacity building, the Organization’s work included developing guidance circulars to Governments and ship owners, operators and masters; providing an intergovernmental forum for discussions on issues of safety and security of international navigation; and reporting on incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships.

CRAIG BOYD, Director of the United Nations Support Operation to AMISOM, on behalf of Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Susana Malcorra, said the support package for the African Union Mission and the strengthening of Somalia’s security sector, as mandated by the Council, continued to be provided in an integrated manner that combined voluntary contributions to trust funds with ongoing direct bilateral support to AMISOM and the Government of Somalia.  The implementation of the logistics support package to AMISOM was funded through assessed contributions.

Thanking donors, he said that confirmed pledges for those purposes totalled some $200 million, but a critical gap remained between that figure and donor disbursements.  That situation would be discussed tomorrow at a follow-up meeting to the April donors’ conference.  Contributions to the AMISOM trust fund stood at almost $25 million, or 80 per cent of total pledges.  Expenditure from the fund should begin shortly, with reimbursements for non-lethal equipment, radio broadcasting and other public information in Mogadishu and earlier medical costs representing priority expenses.

He said the current military strength of AMISOM in Mogadishu stood at about 5,200 troops, or 65 per cent of the mandated force of 8,000 troops.  Burundi and Uganda had each deployed three battalions and both countries had offered to provide a fourth battalion, which, along with the offer of Djibouti to contribute a special-forces unit of 400 troops, would bring the Mission close to its mandated strength. 

The General Assembly, he said, approved funding of $139 million for the support package which had so far provided fresh food to AMISOM troops in Mogadishu, concluded a fuel contract that would commence delivery shortly, and nearly concluded procurement for aero-medical evacuation services.  United Nations contracts were already in place with various hospitals in Nairobi, Kenya.  Contracts for Mission headquarters, a medical facility and prefab structures and other needs should be approved shortly.  He explained that those arrangements would replace support that had previously been received from an unnamed Member State and its vendor.

In addition, he said, a strategic communications network had been established for AMISOM and maritime vessels had been contracted to provide sea freight services between Mombasa and Mogadishu, with around $7 million of United Nations equipment brought to Mogadishu on those vessels, including field defence stores, critical medical supplies, an airport fire-fighting vehicle and a range of engineering equipment.  All that equipment would be put to immediate use. He thanked the International Maritime Task Force for the assistance in that area.

Expressing his condolences for the 17 September attacks on AMISOM and thanking France for assistance in evacuations, he said that the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM was able to respond rapidly in the aftermath.  In addition, he said that support implementation agreements were being finalized with AMISOM and other concerned parties to formally specify and define the support arrangements and responsibilities.

In regard to security, he said that each of the four maritime vessels that had transported support to AMISOM had been attacked.  In addition, four AMISOM soldiers lost their lives during a mortar attack on the centralized food storage and refrigeration facility established by the United Nations Support Operation to AMISOM.  He stressed that the Department of Field Support was fully committed to supporting AMISOM but Mogadishu was currently a very challenging environment and attacks would potentially slow the full delivery of the mandated support package.  In recent months, limited numbers of United Nations international staff members had visited most AMISOM sites for short periods.  The United Nations Support Operation to AMISOM would maximize its use of AMISOM military personnel to assist in the delivery of essential support services until the security environment allowed more effective use of United Nations contractors and civilian staff.

In conclusion, he saluted AMISOM for the commitment and resilience of its personnel and stressed the close working relationship his office had with the mission.  He also thanked the Government of Kenya for its cooperation and provision of land for a logistics support base.

Statements

JOHN SAWERS ( United Kingdom) said that Somalia had been among the most difficult issues on the Council’s agenda during his time at the United Nations.  The Council had taken steps towards a more stable situation in the country and, however slowly, it was moving in the right direction.  The work of AMISOM and the Department of Field Support was welcome. The international community had a right strategy in place, and now it was a question of seeing that strategy through.  The situation remained extremely fragile, and it was necessary to intensify implementation on all areas.

The humanitarian situation in Somalia remained disturbing, with over 50 per cent of population requiring assistance.  The United Kingdom was providing assistance.  The Council needed to support the agencies which were able to deliver basic supplies and food.  It was also necessary to intensify support to the Transitional Federal Government in its efforts to promote security and achieve reconciliation with opposition groups through inclusive politics.  The international community must play its part by disbursing funds pledged in Brussels.  All States should support the Djibouti Process and the Transitional Federal Government.

He also expressed concern over reports that Eritrea had provided support to armed opposition groups in Somalia.  The African Union had asked for sanctions against Eritrea in that regard, and the United Kingdom was prepared to support that request.  The Council should also maintain its support for AMISOM.  The United Kingdom urged Member States to provide further contributions to its trust fund.  He paid tribute to the role of Uganda and Burundi in AMISOM and condemned recent attacks in Mogadishu, offering condolences to the families of those killed.  He added that the Council should play its role in fighting piracy.  The long-term solution to that problem lay in establishing the rule of law in Somalia, but in the short term actions were needed to ensure security at sea.

He said the Council had taken steps to improve the peace process in Somalia, and now it was important to translate that into tangible improvements on the ground.

ROSEMARY DICARLO (United States) said the key to long-term peace and stability in Somalia lay in the establishment of effective governance, based on inclusive dialogue and reconciliation.  She applauded recent efforts OF THE Transitional Federal Government in that regard, including its continuing work to bring armed elements into the Djibouti Process and the creation of the Commission on Security and Pacification.  That progress was only part of the picture, however, since Somalia still endured persistent insecurity.  The United States condemned continued military offensives against the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM, including the attack in Mogadishu.

The issue of “outside actors” was a serious one, she continued.  Reported support by Eritrea to armed opposition groups was a source of concern.  It was time for the international community to consider Eritrea’s destabilizing effect in the region.  Support for AMISOM should be central to international efforts.  She strongly supported a logistical support package and funding to AMISOM.  Her country would continue to provide training for AMISOM personnel.  In that connection, she recommended greater coordination of international training of the Mission’s personnel and national forces.

She added that the country’s devastating humanitarian situation was worsened by deepening drought and ongoing fighting, which hindered the delivery of food.  She denounced violence against humanitarian workers and demanded the immediate release of humanitarian workers held in Somalia.  International efforts to prosecute suspected pirates should be enhanced.  The United States remained the largest bilateral donor for Somalia, but was concerned about reports over diversion of humanitarian aid.

ERTUĞRUL APAKAN (Turkey), noting that Somalia was going through a “very delicate period”, supported the Transitional Federal Government as the only legitimate Government and called on all groups to participate in the peace process.  He called on other African Union members to join Uganda and Burundi in augmenting AMISOM and encouraged the United Nations Secretariat to keep supporting the Mission.  He urged that pledged funds be provided as soon as possible, noting that his country had already disbursed some half of its pledged funds and had offered other assistance.

He expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation in and around Mogadishu and the humanitarian situation around the country, saying that the sustained support of the international community was crucial in both those areas.  He supported the three-phase plan of the Secretary-General, and said that his country would continue to also support anti-piracy efforts of the international community. 

YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) also expressed his concern over the security situation in Somalia and said he supported the Secretary-General’s incremental approach for security support there.  He welcomed augmentation of AMISOM and support to the Mission that had been provided so far and urged that all those who had pledged further support make good on their commitments.  Anti-terrorism measures must be put in place to protect AMISOM staff.

It was important, he said, that security support be provided in a coordinated manner, and he condemned those who were making peace more difficult through the pursuit of violence.  He also expressed concern over piracy and the prospects for stability in Somaliland.  He welcomed international efforts to fight piracy, noting that Japan had chaired meetings on those efforts.  The stability of Somali was crucial to end piracy in Somalia, however, and he hoped that efforts to bring about both those goals would be coordinated with each other.

KONSTANTIN K. DOLGOV (Russian Federation) said he was concerned over the armed confrontation and security situation in Somalia, and noted recent attacks against AMISOM and the Transitional Federal Government.  The combativeness of unreconciled opposition clearly led to an atmosphere of lawlessness in the country, he added, and it complicated action to establish active governance.  There were some signs of progress, but they did not yet show an irreversible trend in the peace process.  Without serious stabilization in the field of security it would be impossible to significantly advance normalization of the situation or build statehood in Somalia.  Continued instability also contributed to piracy.  Those issues must be resolved in a comprehensive way.  The international community must contribute to the efforts of relevant organizations, including the African Union, to build the capacity of the Transitional Federal Government.  It was also important to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

Turning to AMISOM, he said he welcomed the role of troop-contributing countries and stressed the importance of rapidly bringing the Mission up to strength.  He said the mandate of AMISOM, as established in resolution 1744, was sufficient to assist the Government in settling the situation in Somalia, and while conditions for a full-fledged United Nations operation in Somalia were not yet present as there was no peace to keep, it was nevertheless necessary to continue working on possible deployment of a United Nations operation and folding AMISOM into such a mission.

He said the peace process required mobilization of efforts, first of all those of Somalis themselves, involving the forces not tainted by abuses.  He expected stepped-up political efforts of the Transitional Federal Government in that regard.  He also called on States of the region to support the Government and prevent the flow of foreign mercenaries and arms into Somalia, in line with the Security Council embargo and sanctions regime for the country.

LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said that after 18 years of civil war, peacebuilding in Somalia remained an arduous and difficult task.  He was concerned over the current situation.  To halt violent conflicts and ethnic disputes and embark on national reconstruction was a political choice that must be made by all parties in Somalia.  He hoped regional organizations and neighbouring countries would use their leverage to normalize the situation in the country.  China supported the national reconciliation and dialogue, and called upon all parties concerned to join the peace process.  He also condemned recent attacks against the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM, and urged armed factions to lay down their arms and seek to settle their differences by political means.

He expressed high appreciation for the positive role of AMISOM in the country, especially the cooperation of troop-contribution counties such as Uganda and Burundi, and condemned all armed activities against AMISOM.  While deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia still faced some obstacles, he said the international community should not passively wait for conditions to ripen.  The United Nations should play a greater role in the country.

Expressing concern over the insufficient level of troops and the shortage of resources for AMISOM, he said there should be intensified consultations to seek further ways of strengthening AMISOM.  The international community and the Security Council should play a more positive role on the question of Somalia.  He called on the international community to provide assistance to the Mission, and noted that his Government had contributed to the Mission and had provided the Government of Somalia with some $500,000 in cash and medications against malaria.  China had also cancelled large amounts of Somalia’s debt.

BONAVENTURE KOUDOUGOU (Burkina Faso), saying he remained very concerned by the security situation in Somalia, expressed condolences to survivors of attacks, and condemned the perpetrators and urged their prosecution.  He hoped that the Council would “act against such spoilers”, through the 751 Committee and other mechanisms.  While he recognized the dangers faced in humanitarian operations, he urged that their crucial work be performed as fully as possible.

He encouraged dialogue and openness aimed at involving all Somalis in reconciliation, under the Djibouti framework.  He congratulated the Secretary-General in continuing to pursue the incremental approach for security support, and he hoped the Secretariat would move as quickly as possible towards the second phase.  He thanked all those who had contributed to the peace in Somalia, urging those who had committed funds, troops or other resources to make good on their pledges.

CHRISTIAN GUILLERMET ( Costa Rica) praised the Transitional Federal Government for its efforts in reconciliation and expressed hope that more members of the insurgency would soon join the process.  He also welcomed the financial pledges for security support in Somalia.  Supporting the strengthening of the Transitional Federal Government to ensure it could deal well with governance, humanitarian assistance, security and development, he nevertheless expressed alarm, however, at the continuing violence and the presence of organized crime. 

He said efforts should be stepped up to further train the Somali armed forces, and expressed the hope that concrete results in the joint security area would soon be seen.  Thanking AMISOM troop contributors, he extended condolences to the victims of the September attacks on the Mission.  He also expressed concern over humanitarian conditions, calling for additional contributions for assistance to the population.  All parties in Somalia should adhere to international human rights law and he welcomed the establishment of a human rights post by the Transitional Federal Government.

CHRISTIAN EBNER ( Austria) expressed his Government’s full support for the Transitional Federal Government and urged all parties to join the Djibouti Process, the only viable framework for achieving peace in Somalia.  He also condemned recent terrorist attacks and expressed concern over foreign support to insurgents.  He said his delegation was ready to support measures against support to insurgent groups.  He appreciated the role of Uganda and Burundi as troop-contribution countries for AMISOM.  The Mission needed to reach mandated strength and capability, and he welcomed recent pledges of troops and the support package for the Mission.  He also stressed the importance of close cooperation and coordination between AMISOM and the United Nations Political Office for Somalia.

Continuing, he stressed the importance of developing the Somali security forces and the need to ensure an effective mechanism of cooperation between the Transitional Federal Government and the international community.  His delegation condemned human rights violations and abuses by insurgents, including arrests and torture.  Those responsible must be held accountable.  He also condemned recruitment of child soldiers and welcomed measures to the Transitional Federal Government to focus on human rights, in particular the appointment of the Minister for Women as a focal point on the issue.

He said his delegation was concerned over the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Somalia, with 3.7 million people dependent on assistance.  The situation of internally-displaced persons was also exacerbated by the fragile security situation and drought.  Humanitarian workers increasingly found themselves to be the target of insurgents.  The European Union engaged in Somalia through its institutions and Member States, and it was currently developing a comprehensive strategy for stepped-up engagement.  The European Union mission to Somalia in September had provided parameters for such a framework.  As for the piracy off Somalia’s coast, the efforts of international actors, including the European Union, could not meet lasting success without addressing the root causes and establishing the rule of law in Somalia.

CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) said that given the alarming situation in Somalia and the region, his country recognized the valuable contribution of the United Nations and African Union through AMISOM to ensure stability on the ground.  He also acknowledged the efforts by the Transitional Federal Government to promote national reconciliation and dialogue and lay foundations for the national security apparatus.  At the same time, he was concerned over increasing insecurity, deterioration of the humanitarian and human rights situation and creeping organized crime.  The vulnerability of AMISOM and national forces in the face of terrorist attacks was also a concern.  Condemning recent attacks, he commended Burundi and Uganda for their staunch commitment.  It should be clear that what had happened on 17 September should have never happened.  He was concerned that security was not guaranteed, even in the area under AMISOM’s control. It was extremely important that the Government of Somalia consolidated national security forces as a priority, and planned disarmament, demobilisation and re-integration operations.  In that connection, he commended the work of a newly established joint security committee ‑‑ an important forum to develop national security strategy.

Turning to the question of piracy, he acknowledged international endeavours to promote security and economic development in the region.  He said Mexico had recently taken part in the work of the contact group on the subject off the coast of Somalia.  In connection with Somalia’s alarming humanitarian situation, he emphasized the need for all parties to comply with international human rights standards; it was also of vital importance to ensure secure and unhindered access of humanitarian aid.  While commending efforts of the Transitional Federal Government to ensure that the civilian population and vulnerable sectors received inputs essential to survival, such as aid provided by the World Food Programme, he was concerned by press reports that aid was diverted for commercial purposes.  He was also concerned over the human rights situation in southern and central areas, and continued impunity and the recruitment of children by armed groups.  Among other obstacles to progress on national security, he mentioned drug trafficking and trafficking in arms in the region, stressing the need to promote regional cooperation to deal with such threats and to regain control of strategic points, including seaports and airports.

On the effort to increase United Nations presence in Mogadishu, he commended the work of all agencies involved in that task, and trusted that there would be progress on the political and security fronts.  Mexico, as Chair of the Sanctions Committee regarding Somalia, appealed to the international community, particularly the countries of the region, to support the monitoring group in the implementation of its mandate.  This month, the report of the group would be considered by the Sanctions Committee.  Implementation of sanctions in Somalia by the Security Council should be consistent with the approach pursued in the subregion, taking into account the complexity of the situation and the great diversity of political protagonists present.

GÉRARD ARAUD (France) expressed strong support for the Transitional Federal Government, which, he said, stood steady despite attacks against it.  Expressing deep concern over the continuing attacks of insurgents, he said that the situation required the firm support of the international community acting in a more resolved way through the incremental strategy.  There was a need for stronger assistance now, he said, adding that France was training Somali forces in Djibouti.  He welcomed interest shown by other countries in similar initiatives.

He expressed deep concern over the French citizen abducted in the midst of his work to support the Transitional Federal Government, and he paid tribute to the troops under AMISOM.  He urged continuation of efforts to pursue a political solution in Somalia and said all those with influence should encourage parties to rejoin the peace process.  He also joined calls for the establishment of a trust fund to support civilian and criminal justice efforts in the fight against piracy.

RUHAKANA RUGUNDA (Uganda) expressed deep concern over the continuing violence in Somalia, the attacks on AMISOM, the deteriorating humanitarian situation and the threats to regional stability.  He welcomed the efforts of the Transitional Federal Government in pursuing the Djibouti process and called on the international community for its support

He said that the international community needed to do more as extremists continued to dominate large swathes of Somali territory.  Given the drastic nature of the situation, he said, “We must ask ourselves ‘Is the current approach commensurate with the threat on the ground?’”.  He maintained that more resources and a faster deployment were needed.  All sectors should be addressed, to give the Somali people a source of hope.  He therefore called on the international community to support the Transitional Federal Government in its institution-building efforts.  He also said that the parties acting as “spoilers” of the peace must be dealt with firmly.

VICE SKRACIĆ (Croatia) noted progress in some key areas, especially national reconciliation, drafting the country’s constitution, capacity-building and strengthening of the national security forces.  Among other things, he also commended the establishment of the Commission on Security and Pacification and the appointment of the new Minister of Defence, which, he hoped, would contribute to the Government’s capacity to restore order.  He said he strongly supported the Djibouti process and encouraged all parties to implement their commitments in that regard.  While urging all groups to join that process as soon as possible and welcoming attempts to revitalize the work of the high-level committee, he said he was nevertheless concerned over the deterioration of the security situation in the southern and central areas of the country; all parties should fully comply with international humanitarian and human rights law.

He expressed condolences to the families of those killed and injured in the September attack, and his concern over the humanitarian crisis in Somalia, which was exacerbated by difficulties in the delivery of humanitarian assistance and by drought conditions.  He hoped that funding would be provided for the transitional plan in Somalia and that the consolidated appeal would be met.  On piracy, he said he shared the view that long-term solutions could be found only through the rule of law and the establishment of security on the ground.  He supported the incremental approach set by the Secretary-General in his report, including the shift to the second “light footprint” base and consultations on a possible future United Nations peacekeeping operation in Somalia.

IBRAHIM O.A. DABBASHI ( Libya) said that despite numerous challenges, the Transitional Federal Government had managed to achieve some progress in the past months through continued dialogue with the opposition, building local governance, preparing the draft constitution and the building of security institutions.  He welcomed the efforts to set up an all-inclusive Somali Government and urged opposition groups to participate in the reconciliation process and discard violence.

Condemning the attack on AMISOM on 17 September, he said he commended the role that the Mission played in an environment fraught with risks; the international community should meet its pledges to support the Mission and to rapidly transform it into a United Nations peacekeeping operation in accordance with resolution 1863.

He expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation, as well as drought, which had increased the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance.  He said he applauded the courage of humanitarian workers, and he denounced attacks against them; all the parties should abide by international law and protect civilians, including humanitarian workers.

On piracy, he emphasized that the problem was a natural result of instability and deteriorating security, as well as the absence of authority of State. To solve the problem, it was necessary to promote a complete and comprehensive solution to the conflict in Somalia.  He said that while he supported international efforts to combat piracy off the coast, an international maritime presence should not be used to protect illegal fishing in Somali coastal waters.

LE LUONG MINH (Viet Nam) agreed with the Secretary-General that Somalia was at a turning point.  He commended President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed’s initiative to establish a Commission for Security and Pacification to establish law and order, and he welcomed his commitment to fully implement the Djibouti Agreement.  He called on the opposition groups that remained outside the Agreement to put down their arms, renounce violence and join the reconciliation process.

The United Nations, the international community and regional organizations should redouble efforts to assist the Transitional Federal Government to repel the onslaught of extremist forces.  In addition, he said, the alarming humanitarian situation required immediate and concrete support, and he welcomed efforts made by donors to disburse pledges.  He supported AMISOM and the incremental approach to strengthening the Mission, and working towards a possible transition to a United Nations operation.

ELMI AHMED DUALE (Somalia) thanked all persons, international organizations and countries who were providing support to his Government.  He welcomed such support and asked that the necessary steps be taken as a matter of urgency to help improve the security situation.  He cited his President’s description of current priorities in security, which included the deployment of adequate United Nations peacekeepers in Somalia, the sooner the better.  Pointing out that Uganda had suffered along with Burundi in experiencing losses, he agreed with Uganda’s call for an acceleration of the incremental approach to security support.

In regard to piracy, he stressed that the root cause was inland and not on the high seas.  Support was needed to his country’s small force that was attempting to stop piracy on the land in Somalia.  He also agreed that action was needed against so-called spoilers, and a blockade was needed to prevent the re-supply of Al Shabaab and al-Qaida’s training camps, which threatened not only Somalia but the region and beyond.  He wholeheartedly thanked Uganda and Burundi, as well as others who had pledged troops and training, as well as all those who had pledged financial resources.  He requested that the pledges be dispersed as quickly as possible.

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