Secretary-General’s New Envoy for Somalia Tells Security Council Situation Demands Intensified, Focused, Coordinated Response by International Community
Secretary-General’s New Envoy for Somalia Tells Security Council Situation Demands Intensified, Focused, Coordinated Response by International Community
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6386th Meeting (AM)
Secretary-General’s New Envoy for Somalia Tells Security Council Situation Demands
Intensified, Focused, Coordinated Response by International Community
Says Inadequate Response Complicates Somali Conflict; Somalia Says Government
Would Have Collapsed Long Ago without African Union Mission, Urges its Support
The growth of international terrorism, insurgency, piracy and human suffering in Somalia demanded an intensified, focused and coordinated response by the international community, the Secretary-General’s new Special Representative for the Horn of Africa country told the Security Council this morning.
“Experience in Somalia has shown that the more delayed or inadequate the response is, the more complex the crisis becomes. We have to act in a comprehensive manner to address these complex challenges,” Augustine Mahiga said in his first appearance before the Council, as he introduced the Secretary-General’s latest report.
Mr. Mahiga, who is also the head of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), said the increase in international terrorism in the region was borne out by the suicide attacks carried out in Kampala, Uganda, in July, the attack on the Muna Hotel during Ramadan and continuous attacks on Mogadishu. He urged the interception of weapons and fighters transiting the port of Kismayu.
He also urged that the military capability of the Transitional Federal Government be supported and extended to expand its territorial space and to widen its political space. Commending the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for its defence of the Transitional Federal Government, he urged a scaled-up assistance from the international community for the force.
AMISOM troop allowances, he maintained, should match those paid under United Nations peacekeeping operations, and the Mission should be supplied with the equipment needed to operate in an urban setting, to prevent civilian casualties. Also needed were adequate surveillance and operational intelligence systems, training in humanitarian law and protection of United Nations civilian staff to be deployed under the so-called “light footprint”.
Among the concerns expressed in consultations since his appointment, he added, was a lack of cohesion within the Transitional Federal Government, which encouraged the insurgency. He, therefore, called for international encouragement of unity within the transitional federal institutions, as well as the Government’s creation of a road map of achievable objectives and clear timelines to advance the Djibouti peace process by the end of the transitional period next year.
Turning to the humanitarian situation, he said it remained dire, with people fleeing attacks in Mogadishu and refugees continuing to arrive in neighbouring countries. He affirmed that more assistance was needed, and he also pointed to a need for greater cooperation among United Nations units, among which integration schemes were still lagging.
Following Mr. Mahiga’s briefing, the representative of Somalia urged the Council to act upon the Special Representative’s recommendations with urgency. Without AMISOM, he said, his Government would have collapsed a long time ago, and he expressed hope therefore that the operation would get all the support it needed and that hostile press coverage of it and of the Transitional Government would end, as it only encouraged the insurgency.
Moses Wetang’ula, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kenya, took the floor as well to affirm that, were it not for AMISOM, Al-Shabaab would have overrun all of Somalia by now. As it was, attacks carried out in Uganda by Al-Shabaab, using collaborators from within the region — some of them from Kenya — brought home the real possibility of the Somali chaos spilling over into his country, as leaders of Al-Shabaab had repeatedly threatened.
A larger force authorization was appropriate for AMISOM, he said, but maintained that the problem of Somalia was not the lack of troops or initiatives, but the lack of the will of the international community. He warned that if the Transitional Federal Government was to collapse, Al-Shabaab would attempt to destroy all non-Muslims in the country. Given the stakes, he expressed hope that the international community would come together in a more coherent, proactive and sincere manner to help the region help Somalia.
Following those statements, Council members, representatives of regional organizations and other stakeholders took the floor to support the assessments of the Secretary-General and Mr. Mahiga, similarly expressing deep concern over the continuing strife in Somalia and affirming the importance of building stability in the country through strengthening the Transitional Federal Government and implementing the Djibouti Peace Agreement.
Most speakers also condemned recent terrorist attacks and emphasized the need for all parties to respect human rights and humanitarian law and to allow full access of aid to people in need, with many urging all parties to release child soldiers and desist in their recruitment. AMISOM was widely commended, with most speakers concurring with its need for adequate resources in its support.
The representative of the African Union said that without predictable, sufficient and sustainable resources, AMISOM could not guarantee the necessary security conditions for the transition towards stability and development in Somalia. He added that Member States were making generous contributions, but had also imposed counterproductive conditions. Given the stakes involved, he also requested the Council to authorize all possible cooperation between United Nations operations in the region and AMISOM, including logistical, aerial and maritime support.
Also speaking today were the representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, Japan, France, Mexico, Nigeria, Lebanon, Uganda, Russian Federation, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Gabon, Austria, Turkey, Norway, Algeria and Ethiopia.
The Acting Head of Delegation of the European Union also spoke.
The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and ended at 1:20 p.m.
For its consideration of the situation in Somalia this morning, the Security Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General on Somalia (document S/2010/447), which provides an update on major developments in the country since the last report of 11 May (document S/2010/234), including counter-piracy activities. It notes that the period was characterized by tensions within the transitional federal institutions and expresses concern regarding the performance of the Transitional Federal Government in providing security and other basic services.
The report states that, despite political complications and a difficult security environment, the United Nations, African Union, Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the international community continued efforts to promote peace and security. On 5 July, IGAD decided to immediately deploy 2,000 additional peacekeepers under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The 11 July attacks in Kampala, Uganda, demonstrated that Al-Shabaab remains a serious threat for Somalia, the subregion and the wider international community. Despite the political difficulties, Somalia’s Independent Federal Constitution Commission continued working on the draft constitution, which is expected to be issued by December.
Volatility and insecurity increased in Mogadishu and beyond, according to the report. The security situation in “Puntland” has generally become more volatile, among other things, because of inter-clan disputes and continuing targeted assassinations of Government officials, as well as because of a clan militia believed to have close connections to Al-Shabaab. The situation in “ Somaliland” has remained stable, except for a few incidents related to the June “presidential” elections. Because of continuing insecurity, United Nations operations have been hampered by limited freedom of movement.
Although the international naval presence in the region has made considerable progress in containing the threat of piracy, attacks continued to have a negative impact on maritime safety. Much more needs to be done to address the root causes of the problem by restoring stability and the rule of law inside Somalia. On the request of working group 1 of the Contact Group on piracy off the coast of Somalia, in which 53 countries and organizations participate, a Somali counter-piracy technical coordination mechanism, the “Kampala process” was established in January and involved the Transitional Federal Government and “Puntland” and “Somaliland” officials. The Secretary-General will submit a comprehensive report on piracy by October.
The present report notes that fighting between insurgents and Government forces in Mogadishu continued to adversely affect civilians, with some 1,600 people — including 400 children — admitted to the two main hospitals from 20 March to 11 July and massive displacements resulting. The food security situation in the country has improved, due to above-average rains during the rainy season. Reduced funding of the consolidated appeals process, however, has affected humanitarian programmes across all areas of intervention.
As for human rights and protection of civilians, the report notes that shelling of residential areas in Mogadishu continued to cause casualties. The United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) received reports of nine executions by firing squad or stoning in areas controlled by Al-Shabaab, five cases of amputation and 28 individuals flogged. Seven cases of beheading were also reported. Monitoring networks recorded some 138 incidents of rape, attempted rape, forced prostitution and domestic violence. Human trafficking both inside and outside of Somalia remains a serious concern.
Despite the fluctuating security situation, the United Nations has maintained a substantive presence in parts of Somalia, as well as a robust intermittent presence through missions inside the country. A more sustainable political presence in the country is being established. The United Nations Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA) will shortly begin construction of offices and accommodations. The establishment of offices for United Nations international staff outside the Mogadishu Airport, however, is not possible under the current security conditions. UNPOS is in the process of deploying a full-time international political presence in Hargeysa (“ Somaliland”) and Garoowe (“Puntland”) in order to intensify engagement with authorities there. A United Nations needs-assessment mission has examined the conditions for the conduct of internationally supervised constitutional referendum and elections.
UNSOA is managing the logistical support package for AMISOM, the report goes on to say. Although the United Nations support package is funded from assessed contributions, AMISOM also receives financial support from the United Nations trust fund in support of the Mission. A major challenge in funding is that most donors have placed caveats preventing any expenditure towards the military component of AMISOM. UNSOA has, among other things, improved the living conditions of AMISOM troops and has initiated preparations to assist the rapid deployment of 2,000 additional AMISOM troops.
In his observations and recommendations, the Secretary-General appeals to the Somali Government and Parliament to resolve political disputes and to take concrete steps towards the fulfilment of commitments on the basis of clear benchmarks and timelines. In order to support the Transitional Federal Government in addressing its challenges, such as extending its authority and combating the threat of extremism, he appeals to the international community to provide urgent military and financial support. He expresses concern that, as Somalia’s transition period approaches its end, the transitional agenda remains largely unfulfilled.
Noting that 18 months after the establishment of United Nations funding arrangements to AMISOM, substantial resource gaps continue to adversely impact its effectiveness, the Secretary-General is of the opinion that the support package for AMISOM should be identical to the support provided to United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Deeply concerned about the devastating impact of the conflict on the civilian population and the lack of respect for international human rights and humanitarian law, he supports the proposal to document the most serious violations committed, as an essential step in the fight against impunity. He reiterates his commitment to ensuring maximum coordination of United Nations efforts in Somalia, in line with his policy of integration of United Nations operations, and he expresses his intention to take steps towards establishing an integrated United Nations presence in the country.
AUGUSTINE MAHIGA, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS), introducing the report of the Secretary-General, noted that this was his first briefing to the Security Council in his new role. Since his appointment, he had held consultations with various stakeholders, including of the Transitional Federal Government, the Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a, regional and international organizations, and civil society.
He said that among the concerns expressed in those consultations was a lack of cohesion within the transitional federal institutions, which encouraged insurgency. On that issue, the Security Council might wish to underscore the need for unity in the Transitional Federal Government to advance the peace process. In order to reach the August 2011 deadlines of the Djibouti Agreement, he had also urged the Transitional Federal Government to reach out to more opposition groups, expand the political process and focus on delivering basic services. For that purpose, the Transitional Federal Government must develop a road map of achievable objectives and clear timelines, and in that light, he urged it to convene without delay its high-level committee.
He commended AMISOM for its defence of the Transitional Federal Government and for holding off “recurrent attacks by the terrorist insurgents led by foreign fighters”. Despite those attacks, positive opportunities still existed in both the political and security sectors; for that reason he urged a scaled-up assistance from the international community.
Nevertheless, as the suicide attacks carried out in Kampala in July, the attack on the Muna Hotel during Ramadan and continuous attacks on Mogadishu bore out, the subregion was threatened by international terrorism, for which Kismayo had become a portal. There was a need for increased maritime and aviation security and Security Council action to staunch it. AMISOM’s defensive capabilities should also be strengthened, as the threat level in Mogadishu and southern central Somalia had increased. The military capability of the Transitional Federal Government should also be supported and developed to expand its territorial space and to widen its political space.
For those reasons, he said, the decision by IGAD and the African Union to deploy 2,000 additional troops to AMISOM must be speedily implemented. Increases of troop levels, however, should be approved within the construct of an overall political strategy. He appealed to all Member States to move from the usual political commitments to more practical actions, including filling the gaps that still existed in financial and material support to the Mission, such as lack of helicopter support for troop lift and casualty evacuation.
Furthermore, he said, AMISOM troop allowances should match those paid under United Nations peacekeeping operations, and the operation should be supplied with the equipment needed to operate in an urban setting to prevent civilian casualties. Also needed were adequate surveillance and operational intelligence systems, training in humanitarian law and protection of United Nations civilian staff to be deployed under the so-called “light footprint”. He would continue to mobilize, in international forums, support to the Transitional Federal Government, as well as for cooperation with the relatively stable areas of “Puntland” and “ Somaliland”.
Turning to the humanitarian situation, he said it remained dire, with people fleeing attacks in Mogadishu and refugees continuing to arrive in neighbouring countries. He affirmed that more assistance was needed and pointed also to a need for greater cooperation among UNPOS, UNSOA and the country team, among which integration schemes were still lagging.
In conclusion, he requested and encouraged the Council to remain engaged with the situation in Somalia, which combined a protracted civil war, international terrorism, international piracy and international trafficking. “Experience in Somalia has shown that the more delayed or inadequate the response is, the more complex the crisis becomes. We have to act in a comprehensive manner to address these complex challenges.”
ELMI AHMED DUALE (Somalia) said the grave situation in his country was surely a threat to regional and international peace and security. Subscribing to the solutions suggested by Mr. Mahiga, he urged the Council to act upon them with urgency. While thanking the United Nations for the support rendered to AMISOM, he said that the Mission was lacking finances and equipment. Without AMISOM, the Government would have collapsed a long time ago, and he therefore hoped the Mission would get all the support it needed.
He said there was a clear link between instability on land and acts of terrorism and piracy. The two could not be treated in isolation, and the real root causes should be addressed. Deeply concerned with the constant negative and hostile media coverage of the efforts of the African Union, AMISOM, the Transitional Federal Government and the United Nations, he said that coverage supported the effort to keep Somalia destabilized. He called on the Council to take significant decisions on Somalia, based on the suggestions of the Special Representative.
MOSES WETANG’ULA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kenya, said that for a long time, Somalia had been a source of “collective shame”, and of insecurity and difficulties in the East African region. The Transitional Federal Charter, signed in Kenya as a result of regional negotiations, was coming to an end by August 2011. This was happening against a background of increased fighting, lack of authority of the central Government and increased incidents of terrorism and piracy. Al-Shabaab had virtually overrun the Government. Were it not for AMISOM, Al-Shabaab would have by now overrun the whole country.
He said the situation in Somalia was now overflowing to its neighbours. On the day of the World Cup finals, the attacks carried out in Uganda by Al-Shabaab, using collaborators from within the region — some of them from Kenya — brought home the real possibility of the Somali chaos spilling over into Kenya. The Al-Shabaab leadership had repeatedly said that its next targets would be the capitals of Kenya and Burundi.
There had been no lack of initiatives to address the situation, he said, adding that what was lacking was the commitment to see them through. There was a need to recognize the centrality of IGAD in trying to resolve the problems. The region felt nervous about the proliferation of initiatives and meetings in several capitals. After the Istanbul Conference, a meeting had been held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where several positive and proactive pronouncements had been made. It had been acknowledged that the Government in Somalia was extremely weak and that IGAD, the African Union and the international community should shift gears from business as usual and take a more proactive approach and fashion a defined trajectory to see how to help the country. It had also been agreed that the authorized force of 8,100 was inadequate. A 22,000-strong force was more appropriate. The problem of Somalia, however, was not the lack of troops, but the lack of the will of the international community to bring troops together.
He said that IGAD had constantly encouraged the Transitional Federal Government to reach out to its opponents in order to find a lasting solution. During an IGAD meeting in Kampala, it had been decided to supply 2,000 additional troops. The United States had undertaken to call upon others, such as Europe and Japan, to put more money in the basket to pay troops, not under the framework of AMISOM, but under joint command with AMISOM.
There was no lack of initiatives, he said, but a lack of fulfilling promises and of a coordinated approach in the engagement with Somalia. If the Transitional Federal Government was to collapse, Al-Shabaab would pursue an agenda destructing all non-Muslim people in the country. He hoped the Council would enforce some of the decisions taken by IGAD, such as targeted sanctions, including against airfields and ports in the hands of Al-Shabaab. He urged the United Nations to support the region by formulating a robust and clear communications strategy to counter the Al-Shabaab propaganda, which overshadowed any Government initiatives in Somalia. The expiration of the Transitional Charter should also be addressed. He hoped that the international community would come together in a more coherent, proactive and sincere manner to help the region help Somalia.
MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said the situation in Somalia remained of deep concern, given continued terrorism, insurgency and threats to Kenya and other countries in the region. He paid tribute to AMISOM’s contributors, condemned all attacks on the operation and affirmed that it was essential that all parties participated in the Djibouti peace process. In that light, he called for a more coherent and integrated United Nations approach and welcomed plans to increase its presence.
He also urged the Transitional Federal Government to strengthen efforts for reconciliation and service provision, and to resolve its internal differences. He called on all parties to observe their obligations in Somalia, which included an end to arming opposition groups. Noting his country’s support to AMISOM, he called for greater funding for both that Mission and the Transitional Federal Government. He looked forward to the next report on fighting piracy, and hoped that the World Food Programme (WFP) could soon resume food aid. The United Nations must show strong leadership in Somalia and the international community must provide support, he concluded.
SUSAN RICE (United States) said she shared the Secretary-General’s view of the exceedingly dangerous situation in Somalia. She urged the Transitional Federal Government to work out its differences and pursue all tasks needed to advance the peace progress. Also paying tribute to all those who contributed to AMISOM, she called on them to ensure that the Mission reached its authorized strength. Outlining United States support for that operation, she called on other countries to participate and said her country was currently reviewing proposals to increase troop authorizations.
Condemning recent terrorist attacks in Somalia and the region, she expressed deep concern as well over continuing piracy and said she anticipated an active discussion this fall on the linkages between security and development. At the same time, pirates must be fended off, pursued and brought to justice. She condemned sexual violence and the use of children by armed forces, calling for immediate release of the children so abused. In regard to the dire humanitarian situation, she said her country remained deeply committed to providing assistance, and condemned obstruction of such aid by Al-Shabaab. She pledged her country’s continuing commitment to work for the stability and security of Somalia.
REGINA MARIA CORDEIRO DUNLOP (Brazil) said that, although some progress had been made, challenges remained daunting, illustrated by the Al-Shabaab attacks in Kampala and the recent violence in Mogadishu. She welcomed the fact that the Transitional Government had been able to start cooperation with Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a and regional administrations. However, the Transitional Federal Institutions had been mired in disputes. Their unity, resolve and public spirit were indispensable elements of any successful strategy for the stabilization of Somalia. While welcoming IGAD’s decision to deploy 2,000 troops, she said it was clear that AMISOM needed more help. The Council, the United Nations and the international community as a whole should complement the subregional and regional efforts. She looked forward to the Secretary-General’s proposals on an integrated United Nations presence in the country as a means to enhance the effectiveness and coherence of United Nations activities on the ground.
She said the lack of comprehensive, coherent, predictable and sustainable financial support to AMISOM and the Transitional Government’s security forces was of major concern. The usual multiple earmarks and caveats in the funds disbursed undermined the effectiveness of AMISOM and the national security forces. Financial predictability was of particular importance with regard to the remuneration of soldiers. More should also be done about the human dimension of the conflict. The proposal to document the most serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law deserved support, especially in a situation where Al-Shabaab was recruiting children as young as 9 years old and imposing punishments such as beheadings, stoning and amputations. Significant gaps remained in humanitarian funding for Somalia.
TSUNEO NISHIDA (Japan) said he remained concerned at the fragile security situation in Somalia and called for the Transitional Federal Government to strive for political unity, namely to intensify its efforts to garner support from moderate opposition groups, in order to facilitate efforts by the international community to support the Government. Japan appreciated efforts by the African Union and IGAD to achieve the mandated AMISOM troop level of 8,000, and welcomed the deployment of an additional battalion by Uganda. Japan was ready to continue consultations on AMISOM contingent-owned equipment, but that issue must be discussed as part of an integrated strategy, under which the strengthening of AMISOM would contribute to the political process in Somalia.
He said his country appreciated the engagement by Mr. Mahiga and the Secretariat to establish a “light footprint” presence in Mogadishu. It also appreciated the continuing provision of humanitarian assistance under difficult circumstances. Japan had been actively engaged in discussions on Somalia and had provided assistance of $124.4 million since 2007, focusing on two pillars, humanitarian assistance and restoration of infrastructure, on the one hand, and strengthening of security in Somalia, on the other.
MARTIN BRIENS (France) said the security situation in Somalia was deteriorating, as illustrated by the offensive launched by extremists in Mogadishu and attacks against parliamentarians and representatives of the international community. Insecurity also undermined rebuilding efforts of the Transitional Federal Government and harmed development activities. Moreover, Al-Shabaab attacks involved the whole region, and instability was a fertile ground for piracy. The entire international community, therefore, should continue to support AMISOM troops. While IGAD and the African Union had announced to bring 2,000 additional troops, international assistance was critical. France had trained 500 soldiers for the Transitional Government in 2009 and was continuing to train soldiers for AMISOM. It also contributed to the United Nations logistical support package and was engaged in Operation Atalanta against piracy.
He said that coordinated strategy, aligned with the political strategy of the Transitional Government, was necessary. Although the Transitional Government had made efforts to broaden its political base, and work on drafting a constitution was proceeding, unacceptable disputes within the transitional federal institutions continued. A regular dialogue should be conducted with “Puntland” and “Somaliland”. The Transitional Government should also show it could provide services to the population, such as security, health care and education.
The United Nations was now conducting various activities in the country through 25 different bodies, he said. He supported enhanced integration of those actions under the authority of the Special Representative, and he encouraged the establishment of a United Nations office in Mogadishu. The issue of piracy should also be addressed on land as well as at sea. The next few months would be critical for Somalia.
CLAUDE HELLER (Mexico) said that the appointment of Mr. Mahiga was an opportunity to improve the international community’s strategy for Somalia. He condemned recent terrorist attacks, and called it unacceptable that aid groups were targeted. He thanked the contributors of troops to AMISOM, and called on all States in the region to support stability in Somalia. Welcoming the increase of AMISOM troops, he hoped it would lead to an atmosphere conducive to United Nations peacekeeping.
He called on the Transitional Federal Government to resolve its political controversies and complete necessary tasks before the end of the transitional period. The support of the international community should focus on consolidating national institutions. He reiterated calls for full respect for human rights and full access for humanitarian aid. He also called on all parties to release all children in the ranks of armed groups. He reminded all parties of their liability under international law for human rights abuses, and supported the targeted use of existing sanctions to help staunch the arms trade and build stability in Somalia. Overall, a coherent and long-term strategic vision was needed for that country, he concluded.
U. JOY OGWU ( Nigeria), noting the mixed picture of hope and apprehension portrayed by the report, said that the achievements of the Transitional Federal Government should be built on. She deplored recent terrorist attacks, however, and urged all parties to consolidate peace. Welcoming the Secretary-General’s recommendations, she said the responsibility for achieving stability lay with all stakeholders.
Paying tribute to AMISOM, she said support given to it, including parity in compensation, should be commensurate with its heavy and complex responsibilities and the sacrifices made by its troop contributors. She also called on donors to remove caveats that restricted aid to the force. The Transitional Government also needed concerted support to pursue its agenda and advance the peace process. In particular, its security forces must be strengthened. She underscored the needed for integrated support by the United Nations and other stakeholders in all those efforts.
NAWAF SALAM (Lebanon) stressed the need for a comprehensive strategy for Somalia that included not only security and stability, but also economic development and establishment of institutions. There was a need to enhance support for the Transitional Federal Government’s security forces so that they could better confront the armed groups that undermined the rule of law and hampered international humanitarian assistance. He commended the work being done on drafting a constitution, but was gravely concerned at repeated attacks by insurgents that had led to many civilian casualties. He called upon the international community to support the Transitional Government’s forces and AMISOM, and to pay them similar remunerations as those paid to United Nations peacekeepers.
He expressed grave concern as well at reports that children had been recruited by all parties, as well as at restricted movement in Somalia and increased sexual violence and attacks against journalists and humanitarian workers. He regretted that WFP had not been able to extend its services to people living in areas under control of Al-Shabaab. There was a need for more coordination among United Nations bodies working in Somalia and for increased contributions by donor entities. The African Union and IGAD had called for a new plan of support for the State in spreading its authority. The Council and the United Nations should respond to that call.
RUHAKANA RUGUNDA (Uganda) endorsed the calls for parity in pay between peacekeepers in Somalia and elsewhere in the world, more so because peacekeepers in Somalia faced very hazardous conditions. He reaffirmed support for the Djibouti process and commended efforts made by the Transitional Federal Government in advancing the political process, among other things, in drafting a constitution and outreach to opposition groups. The security situation, however, remained fragile. Al-Shabaab held the people of Somalia hostage to their extremist views, obstructed provision of humanitarian supplies and violated human rights. Al‑Shabaab, its allies and sponsors bore the sole responsibility for the continuing suffering and deaths of Somali people and peacekeepers. In that regard, he expressed concern at the large numbers of foreign fighters coming into the country and noted that Al-Shabaab’s methods mirrored those of Al-Qaida.
Without effective working State institutions, the Government would not be able to gain support, he said, calling upon the international community to rebuild the State institutions and support the Government to improve its service delivery. He called on the Government and transitional institutions to work in harmony to address the challenges facing the country. He welcomed efforts by the Special Representative to promote cohesion and understanding within the Government. He further called upon the international community to support AMISOM. There was now a window of opportunity in Somalia to lay the foundation for peace and stability, and that opportunity should not be lost.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said that, on the whole, he shared the Secretary-General’s assessment of the situation in Somalia. It was important to end the defiance by extremists of Council resolutions, and he urged efforts to strengthen the Transitional Government and AMISOM.
The phased approach to broaden United Nations presence was justified, he affirmed, and he approved closer coordination between United Nations units and their coordination with the Transitional Government. In regard to piracy, he said it was important to build capacity to bring to justice pirates as well as their bosses. He pledged that his country would continue to work towards building stability in the region.
IVAN BARBALIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina) condemned the attacks perpetrated in recent months in Somalia, which, he said, demonstrated the fragility of the situation in the country. As the end of the transition period of the Djibouti Peace Agreement was fast approaching, it was crucial that all actors showed the political will necessary to move the process forward, he stressed.
Expressing concern over the humanitarian situation, he also stressed the need to address the blocking of humanitarian aid and the recruitment of child soldiers. He called on the international community to continue its support to AMISOM so it could carry out its mandate to bring about the best possible conditions for the achievement of the transition tasks required by the peace process.
LI BAODONG (China) noted that the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM forces had resolutely fought back attacks and that international cooperation in combating piracy had made progress. Despite all that, however, the humanitarian crisis had deepened, and attacks and piracy continued unabated. The situation was a threat to peace and stability in the region. He said that, as noted in the report, the Transitional Government was undergoing a tense period, a situation which should be resolved. He hoped that all involved would place the interest of the people above all other considerations. He called on all countries in the region to support the Transitional Government, in order to facilitate reconciliation. While condemning attacks against the Government and AMISOM forces, he noted that the security forces in Somalia were facing funding gaps and called on the international community to provide assistance. His country stood ready to support United Nations peacekeeping when the situation was ripe.
Commending the efforts and the contributions made by the African Union, he called upon the United Nations to provide more practical assistance to AMISOM. Two decades of war in Somalia had seriously undermined the cause of peace in Africa, he said, and the international community, in particular the Council, must demonstrate a stronger sense of urgency and purpose.
ALFRED ALEXIS MOUNGARA MOUSSOTSI (Gabon) said the numerous meetings held by the Council on Somalia, and other initiatives, in particular the Istanbul Conference, testified to the growing concern of the international community at the situation in that country. The new options proposed by the Secretary-General were a good basis for discussions. The upsurge in violence underlined the precarious security situation in the country. The resolution of the crisis required approaches in the fields of security, humanitarian assistance and institution-building. AMISOM and national security forces should therefore be supported.
He said that although troop levels of AMISOM had increased somewhat, the troops should benefit from logistical and financial support. While welcoming the logistical support provided by the United Nations and the European Union, he expressed support for the recommendation to align the treatment of AMISOM troops with those of United Nations peacekeepers. Because the illicit circulation of arms in Somalia also contributed to insecurity, implementation of the Council sanctions adopted in resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) should be effectively monitored. He urged the Transitional Federal Government to pursue national reconciliation and to set aside its differences for the greater interest of the country.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING (Austria), aligning himself with the statement to be made by the European Union, reiterated support for the Djibouti peace process and the Transitional Federal Government, calling for a clear and unified strategy to achieve progress by the end of the transitional period. He called upon all parties to ensure the protection of civilians, reiterating condemnations of recruitment of children. In regard to piracy, he underlined the need for concerted action by all stakeholders.
He expressed appreciation to AMISOM and welcomed increased coordination among United Nations units, calling for increased synergies between those groups and the Transitional Government. He looked forward to the summit on Somalia that had been called for by the Secretary-General for this fall.
Council President ERTUĞRUL APAKAN (Turkey), speaking in his national capacity, said the situation in Somalia was cause for great concern. Existing disputes in the Transitional Federal Government and in the country in general must be resolved through dialogue, so the peace process could be moved forward. AMISOM should be fully supported, in a manner identical to United Nations peacekeeping operations. It was also crucial for national security institutions to be strengthened.
The Transitional Government, he said, should continue its outreach to opposition groups and engage in awareness campaigns to counteract the propaganda by insurgents. Regional States played a critical role, and the leadership role of the United Nations was also crucial, he said, welcoming the Organization’s increasing presence in the country. Encouraging continued efforts against piracy, he looked forward to the Secretary-General’s next report on that scourge.
TÉTE ANTÓNIO, Permanent Observer of the African Union, said there had been both positive and less positive elements on the ground. The process of adopting a new constitution, drafted by the Independent Federal Constitution Commission, was proceeding despite tensions in the federal transitional institutions. The security situation, however, was precarious, as Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam continued to launch attacks against Government security forces and AMISOM in Mogadishu. The humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate and ongoing violence caused civilian casualties and displacement. Humanitarian agencies had limited access, owing to intimidation and attacks by armed groups, in particular Al-Shabaab.
He said the situation in Somalia had received the highest attention in the region and the continent, as illustrated by the African Union summit in Kampala, which had endorsed IGAD’s decision to allow AMISOM to achieve the authorized level of 8,100 troops. Planning for the new deployment was proceeding, and new strategic guidelines and a new operational concept for AMISOM were being developed.
Still, several challenges persisted, he said. Although the logistical support package authorized in resolution 1863 (2009) was financed from regular contributions, other support would come from a special trust fund. Member States were making generous contributions, but imposed conditions largely curbed military expenditures. It was essential that AMISOM could count on predictable and sustainable financing. Because the situation in Somalia posed a threat to international peace and security, as illustrated by the Kampala attacks and acts of piracy, he called on the Council to consider authorizing all possible cooperation between AMISOM and United Nations operations in the region, including with regard to logistical aerial and maritime support.
Addressing the humanitarian situation, he drew attention to the high number of civilian casualties in Mogadishu. Some humanitarian and media organizations had accused AMISOM of looting in certain parts of Mogadishu as a reaction to the Al-Shabaab attacks launched from those areas. Those accusations were fuelled by the propaganda machine of Al-Shabaab. AMISOM and UNSOA were now developing a communication strategy to counter such accusations.
He said the African Union was determined to do its fair share, working closely with the Council, Member States and partners, to achieve the common goals of a stable and peaceful Somalia. AMISOM, however, needed predictable, sufficient and sustainable resources, without which it could not guarantee the necessary security conditions conducive for the transition towards stability and development in Somalia.
PEDRO SERRANO, Acting Head of Delegation of the European Union, condemned the Al-Shabaab deadly attacks on Mogadishu’s airport on 9 September, during which eight people, including African Union peacekeepers, had been killed.
He said that despite the efforts of AMISOM and the international community, the security situation in Somalia remained fragile. The transitional federal institutions continuously faced serious challenges to their efforts to improve security, strengthen the political process, intensify institution building, as well as to deliver minimum basic services to the Somali people. The country was now entering a critical phase with the transitional period culminating in August 2011, and the Djibouti Peace Agreement had yet to be fully implemented.
The most recent Al-Shabaab terrorist attacks on Mogadishu’s airport aimed at a high-level meeting of United Nations, African Union and Somali officials, and previous attacks in Kampala in July and Mogadishu in August, posed a serious threat, not only for the security situation in Somalia, but for the wider region. The peace process in Somalia must continue. Together with international partners, the European Union was engaged in support of a peaceful and sustainable solution to the Somali crisis. It helped to stabilize Somalia by providing support to priority areas such as the security sector and the training of military personnel, humanitarian and development assistance to the population, and capacity-building.
He said the Union fully supported the current peace process; however, international coordination urgently needed further improvement. He called for a stronger United Nations leadership of international efforts. As for piracy, the international community should devote more attention to reversing the socio-economic drivers that fed on that scourge. In conclusion, he said that the Union reiterated its commitment to improve the lives, dignity and security of the Somali people, to foster reconciliation and to support human rights and good governance.
TINE MORCH SMITH (Norway) said the situation in Mogadishu still hung in the balance. It was important for the Security Council to boost the strength and operational capability of AMISOM. Ordinary people in Somalia were the main victims of the conflict; there was little hope of improvement so long as the present situation continued. Norway, with others, had been seeking to provide humanitarian aid, but access had often been difficult.
Regarding piracy, she said her country noted with concern the fragile and sporadic prosecution of captured pirates, despite collective efforts. Even if ANISOM was significantly strengthened, a lasting solution to the conflict in Somalia could only come through political means. The Djibouti process should be vigorously pursued. At the same time, the Transitional Federal Government had to “get its act together” and show a sense of purpose. With only one year left in the transitional period, time was of the essence.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI (Algeria) said his country, which had always supported a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia based on respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and national unity, had provided support for AMISOM troops, among other ways, by providing airlift facilities. It also supported the African Union’s decision to deploy additional troops. As the transitional period approached its end, he was concerned that the transitional agenda remained largely unfulfilled. He encouraged the Transitional Federal Government, therefore, to undertake more efforts to implement the Djibouti Agreement. That accord should remain open to all Somalis looking for peace, reconciliation and development.
Concerned about the substantial resource gaps in the United Nations funding for AMISOM, he said the Mission should be provided with more effective and operational logistics. He also supported an integrated, coherent United Nations approach to the challenges confronting Somalia and welcomed the Secretary-General’s intent to take further steps towards establishing an integrated United Nations presence in Somalia. The Security Council had a critical role to play in Somalia, and the United Nations should provide a strong mandate as well as resources to those willing to assist the country, in particular to the African Union. It was imperative that the international community provide political, financial and economic support to Somalia commensurate with the magnitude of the challenges it faced.
AMAN HASSEN BAME (Ethiopia) said his country had been doing whatever was necessary to ensure the success of the peace process in Somalia, through regional organizations such as the African Union and IGAD, and other means. He stressed the need for concerted efforts from the international community to provide support to AMISOM, and called for concrete action by the Council to help the operation as well as the Transitional Federal Government to provide normalcy in the war-ravaged nation through both political and security efforts. He also reiterated the need to work towards the transformation of AMISOM into a United Nations peacekeeping operation.
He encouraged unity in the Transitional Government and the resolution of disputes between Somalia’s political leaders through dialogue, and he welcomed efforts to bring on board other groups that were prepared for peace and stability in the country. Saying that the international community had failed to take timely action as Al-Shabaab galvanized its support, he urged the Security Council to help defeat the terrorist group and its allies. He added that the Council was well aware of Eritrea’s continued support for such groups, which, he said, remained undeterred. He advocated that all investigations of human rights violations in Somalia should be done in a transparent manner, within the mandate of the Human Rights Council.
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