‘There Will Never Be a Right Time in Somalia; We Have to Act Now,’ UN Envoy Tells Security Council, Dismissing Suggestions It Is Either Too Early or Too Late

12 May 2010
SC/9927

‘There Will Never Be a Right Time in Somalia; We Have to Act Now,’ UN Envoy Tells Security Council, Dismissing Suggestions It Is Either Too Early or Too Late

12 May 2010
Security Council
SC/9927
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6213th Meeting (AM)

‘There Will Never Be a Right Time in Somalia; We Have to Act Now,’ UN Envoy Tells

Security Council, Dismissing suggestions It Is Either Too Early or Too Late

Somali Minister Appeals for Direct Support to Government, Saying Half-Hearted

Measures, Delays Encourage Intransigence; Norway Informs of ‘Test’ for Government

With the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia making progress building its institutions and reaching out to armed groups, it was important to redouble efforts for stability in light of the remaining enormous challenges, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General told the Security Council this morning.

“We should all recognize that, after years of anarchy, there will never be a right time in Somalia.  We have to act now,” Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah said in a briefing, looking forward to next week’s Istanbul Conference on Somalia and dismissing suggestions that it was either too early or too late for such a high-level gathering.  The meeting today also heard from the First Deputy Prime-Minister of Somalia, Abdurahman Ibrahim, as well as the Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, Ramtane Lamamra.

Mr. Ould-Abdallah said that next week’s conference was an exceptional opportunity to show that Somalia had true friends ready to make a difference in this year, in which the country celebrated its fiftieth anniversary of independence.  Funds mobilized in last year’s Brussels Conference had already made a difference in strengthening the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Transitional Federal Government in security and capacity-building, but more such support was needed.

The Transitional Federal Government had succeeded in reaching out to other groups committed to peace and stability, he said, noting the 15 March agreement signed with Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a, which could provide a blueprint for future agreements.  He reiterated that the “door of peace” was open to all Somalis wishing to end the agony of their country.

Noting the significance of an agreement with the region of Puntland on piracy-related issues, he called for employment schemes for youth to help stem piracy and proposed that countries fishing in Somali waters should pay a license fee to be used to strengthen Somali authorities to control the criminals.

Meanwhile, he said that the humanitarian situation remained horrendous, despite the laudable work of the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other agencies.  He stressed that the humanitarian and human rights situation were part and parcel of the same situation and that impunity must be ended through concerted international assistance. 

He reiterated that the three inter-related pillars of the peace process –- reconciliation, security and development –- should be addressed simultaneously.  At the upcoming Conference, the country’s vibrant business community and the international community could make progress on all fronts through a show of solidarity and by launching new initiatives for reconstruction and job creation.

“Once Governments, development agencies, business agencies and non-governmental organizations act together, they can help bring about a major move away from past practices of managing the status quo,” he said.

Mr. Ibrahim, who is also Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources of Somalia, thanked the international community for its assistance, but appealed for a paradigm shift to unequivocal, direct support to the Somali Government so that it could, in turn, support the people of the country more effectively.

“Any small, hesitant, half-hearted measures… and protracted delays will only increase the intransigence of extremist die-hard elements,” he said.  Describing progress in reconciliation, drafting the new constitution and building institutions, he said that, while Somalia faced challenges, it also offered enormous opportunities. 

Taking the floor for a second time at the end of the meeting, Mr. Ibrahim appealed strongly for direct support for his Government, which he said was being assailed by well-funded terrorists, noting that of all the money raised for Somalia, little had reached the Government itself.  Allegations of corruption against Government members had emboldened the terrorists, he said.  “We need to be trusted and we need to be held accountable for the distribution of the funds given to us,” he declared.

In his presentation, Commissioner Lamamra said that assisting a Somali Government to exercise sovereignty throughout its territory would be the best way of marking the country’s fiftieth anniversary of independence.  For that purpose, the international partnership in support of Somalia should be strengthened, particularly the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, for which Burundian and Ugandan troops were performing valiant work.

Also noting recent positive developments, he maintained that more assistance, along with upgrading the status and conditions of AMISOM troops, would strengthen those trends.  He pledged that the African Union would carry out its commitments to help restore stability in Somalia.

Following those presentations, speakers welcomed signs of progress in Somalia, while also expressing continuing, deep concern over the persistent activity of extremist groups and other armed factions, as well as the dismal humanitarian and human rights situation in the country, with some noting the attacks on journalists.

Welcoming the March agreement with the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a, speakers also reiterated support for the Djibouti peace process and urged the Transitional Federal Government to continue outreach to bring other groups into that process.  Most speakers expressed strong support for AMISOM and the Government.  Norway’s representative said that his country had deposited a small, test amount of funds in a government account and would give more direct support if it saw results in improved services to the Somali people.

Also speaking this morning were the representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Turkey, Russian Federation, France, China, Japan, Nigeria, Mexico, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gabon, Uganda, Brazil, Austria, Lebanon and Norway.

The delegation of the European Union also made a statement.

The meeting began at 10:34 a.m. and ended at 1:15 p.m.

Background

The Security Council had before it the Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia (document S/2010/234), which says that, despite multiple challenges, the Transitional Federal Government in the faction-torn country had been making strong efforts to improve security and stability.

The Transitional Federal Government, the Secretary-General says in the report, has begun to raise domestic revenues to fund some of its initiatives and has prepared a National Security and Stabilization Plan.  It has also made a commitment to form an inclusive administration by reaching out to those outside the peace process.  He urges the Government to honour that agreement as well as those made on 15 March with the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a faction, and invites all those who wish to join the peace process to do so without further delay.

He expresses concern, however, that the Transitional Federal Government still lacks the necessary capacity to implement its agenda as the end of the transitional period in Somalia draws to a close, in August 2011.  Failure in implementing that agenda would play into the hands of the extremists and adversely affect the plight of the Somali people, he says.

He therefore urges the Somali leaders to maintain cohesion and dialogue within the Transitional Federal Institutions and to focus their energies on overcoming the momentous challenges facing their country.  He reiterates his appeal to Member States, in addition, to urgently release their pledged contributions to the Transitional Federal Government and to deliver further direct assistance to it through the Price Waterhouse Coopers facility.

Saying that foreign fighters and various other actors continued to fuel anarchy and to profit from it, he also urges Member States to implement the sanctions regime on Somalia.  Concerned over disruptions in humanitarian assistance, he reminds all parties that they are obligated by international law to allow humanitarian access to those in need.  He urges donors to remain steadfast in their contributions to meet the urgent needs of 3.2 million Somalis, noting that the lack of adequate funding was already having a negative impact.

Deeply concerned about the impact of conflict on civilians, he condemns the launching of attacks by extremists from populated areas and demands an end to those attacks and that responses to them meet standards of international humanitarian law.  All those abusing the rights of the Somali people will be held accountable, he pledges.

Acknowledging the critical efforts to stabilize Somalia by the African Union through the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and other initiatives, he stresses the importance of raising the stipends paid to AMISOM troops to a level of other peacekeeping operations and to reimburse troop contributing countries for lethal equipment.

He says that optimal coordination and joint programming between leading United Nations actors on Somalia is critical to maximizing the impact of their activities, and for that reason, he intends to review the Organization’s strategy for Somalia.  In the meantime, steps will be taken to operationalize the Joint Planning Unit within the office of his Special Representative, as the United Nations continues to implement the three-phased incremental approach outlined in his report of April 2009 (document S/2009/210).

Briefing

Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, looking forward to next week’s Istanbul Conference on Somalia and noting suggestions that it was either too early or too late for such a high-level gathering, said:  “We should all recognize that, after years of anarchy, there will never be a right time in Somalia.  We have to act now.”

One year ago, he recalled, the Brussels Conference garnered pledges of $213 million to help the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Transitional Federal Government strengthen their security capabilities.  As a result, troops were being trained inside and outside Somalia.  Ongoing training in Uganda was a joint operation between Africa, the European Union and the United States, with 2,000 troops being prepared in two batches.  The new Somali Army Chief needed strong support in that context.

Likewise, he said that AMISOM, which now numbered just under 7,000 and still needed many more battalions, should be strengthened, and at the same time, helped to carry out its duties of protecting the Federal institutions and assisting the needy.  The international community could help by providing equipment and salaries, at least for one year, for those forces which had been properly trained.  The Memorandum of Understanding signed recently between his office, the African Union and Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) should facilitate that undertaking.

On the political front, the Transition Federal Government should show strength in unity, determination in action and a common purpose in its policies, he said, pointing out that the international community could help by disbursing pledged resources.  There should be a halt of spending of funds and energy on strategies and road maps, to allow for a re-examination of achievements.

The Transitional Federal Government had succeeded in reaching out to other groups committed to peace and stability, he said, noting the agreement signed with Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a, a key religious and resistance movement, which could provide a blueprint for future agreements.  He reiterated that the door of peace was open to all Somalis wishing to end the agony of their country.

Noting the significance of a memorandum of understanding signed with Puntland on piracy related issues, he said that to further stem piracy, the Transitional Federal Government and other authorities should be strengthened, and employment schemes for youth should be launched.  He also proposed payment of a license fee by countries fishing in Somali waters.

Meanwhile, he said that the humanitarian situation remained horrendous, despite the laudable work of the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other agencies.  The international community must address this situation by harmonizing action to end impunity for human rights abuses, as the humanitarian and human rights situation were part and parcel of the same situation.  “Once Governments, development agencies, business agencies and non-governmental organizations act together, they can help bring about a major move away from past practices of managing the status quo,” he said.

He reiterated that the three inter-related pillars of the peace process –- reconciliation, security and development -– should be addressed simultaneously.  At the upcoming Conference, the country’s vibrant business community and the international community could make progress on all fronts through a show of solidarity, and through launching new initiatives for reconstruction and job creation.

In addition, if the international community wanted to make a decisive difference, there was no alternative to moving its actors to Mogadishu to be closer to the victims, he said.  If action was not taken now, the situation would, sooner or later, force action at a much higher price.  The Transitional Federal Government should be supported in a concrete manner and it should be asked to deliver effectively.  A peace conference, on the other hand, could only damage prospects for peace and stability by inciting extremists to be more radical and granting them veto power over the future of the people.

The Istanbul Conference, he concluded, was an exceptional opportunity to show that Somalia had true friends ready to make a difference in this year, in which the country celebrated its fiftieth anniversary of independence.  In that light, he welcomed the support of the Secretary-General, the Government of Turkey and the entire Security Council.

ABDURAHMAN ADAN IBRAHIM, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, thanked the Security Council for its unwavering support of his country’s peace and reconciliation efforts.  The Government, despite immense challenges, continued to provide the leadership and wisdom required to advance peace and stability in the country.  Yet, that commitment to peace and dialogue, and the determination to rebuild a shattered nation were hampered by the actions of terrorist groups with links to Al-Qaida.  Nevertheless, with the help of the international community, the Somali Government would continue to provide coordinated, timely, and sustained engagement, with a view towards countering the insurgency and bringing about lasting peace and security throughout the nation.

Indeed, he declared:  “The insurgents’ plan to overthrow the Government of National Unity and its attempt to foment further destabilization and chaos in the country has been foiled.”  The country was now witnessing, following successful efforts to implement the Djibouti Peace Process, an inclusive political process with broad-based support.  The President, the Speaker of Parliament, all Parliament members, as well as the Prime Minister and his Cabinet were now all operating in Mogadishu.  The Transitional Government had succeeded in exercising its mandate with a great deal of responsibility and devotion, and had embraced the principle of collective leadership.

“It has successfully shattered anything that would potentially elicit differences and undermine cohesiveness among members of the Cabinet, on the one hand and, and between the Government and Parliament on the other,” He said.  The current discussion between members of the Government must not be construed as “bickering”, but as an exercise in Somalia’s burgeoning democracy, which would strengthen its international legitimacy and sustain its political legitimacy.  He cited important headway with national reconciliation, including with significant members of the Hisbul Islam, who had recently embraced the Government’s efforts.

Moreover, some prominent Shabaab commanders and fighters had publicly denounced violence and condemned the crimes perpetrated by radical extremists, he said, adding that some of those members had even decided to defect.  Within the framework of the Government’s efforts to reach out to those groups outside the peace process, officials had signed a cooperation agreement in mid-March between the Government and Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a, which provided, among other things, for the merging of Government and “ASWJ” forces to counter insurgents.  The Government had peacefully brought about stability in certain regions of the country, and it had been able to mediate between the leaders in Galmudug Regional Administration in Central Somalia, convincing them to settle their differences peacefully.

He went on to note other progress, including its efforts to improve the security situation by reorganizing the armed forces.  Private militias and Government forces had been re-integrated and were now a part of the Somali national army.  Such newly re-integrated forces had been engaged to carry out national duties, and, along with Government forces, had been taken action to expel Shabaab forces from some of the Mogadishu strongholds, as well as along the road that lead to the Bakarah markets.  That successful offensive had generated cautious optimism and provided some relief for AMISOM forces, which had been subjected to continuous attacks in those areas.

He stressed that peace, stability and security were the key to any meaningful socio-economic development, as well as to the delivery of humanitarian assistance.  United Nations peacekeepers, if deployed, could achieve that, with the help of the Government and AMISOM forces.  His Government welcomed deployment of East Brigade Forces from the Intergovernmental Authority for Development.  Turning to constitution-making, he said the Government had embarked on a process of building the capacity of the institutions that would be involved in that drafting exercise.  New members of the Federal Constitution Commission had been sworn in and the various other stakeholders were now “brainstorming” on the way forward.

Highlighting other priorities set out by the Government, he noted, among others, the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the needy and internally displaced; formulation of a comprehensive national security strategy; consolidation of good governance, accountability transparency and justice in all State institutions; rebuilding of the country’s infrastructure to promote economic recovery; and strengthening good relations, mutual understanding and cooperation among the countries of the region.

While thanking the Council for its unwavering support, he said that after 20 years of reports, missions, statements, assessments, and embargoes, as well as the proliferation of meetings and conferences on the situation in Somalia, “it is high time to come up with a paradigm shift that looks at the situation differently”.  He believed that, given meaningful collaboration on security sector matters, the Government would be in a much better place to make progress in other areas, such as humanitarian assistance, human rights, combating piracy, and attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

He appealed to Member States and the Council to take urgent decisions to unequivocally support the Somali Government so that, in turn, the Government could support the people of the country more effectively.  “I am obliged to repeat that any small, hesitant, half-hearted measures… and protracted delays will only increase the intransigence of extremist die-hard elements,” he said.  Overall, he believed that Somalia faced challenges, but also enormous opportunities.  “In our view, the opportunities in Somalia far outweigh the risks.  We hope and pray that we achieve a new momentum.”

RAMTANE LAMAMRA, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, said that assisting a Somali Government to exercise sovereignty throughout its territory would be the best way of marking the country’s fiftieth anniversary of independence.  And the best way of accomplishing that would be to strengthen the international partnership in support of Somalia, particularly the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union, for which Burundian and Ugandan troops were performing valiantly in the country.

He noted positive developments of the first part of this year, including the agreement signed on 15 March between Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama'a, which he said could have wide-reaching effects.  In addition, international support for AMISOM had the potential of bringing about a fundamental transformation of the political-security landscape.  Assistance to the Somali security forces was crucial for that purpose as well.  More such assistance and bringing the conditions of AMISOM up to those of a normal peacekeeping operation would strengthen such positive trends.

Future strategies should focus on security in the current Somali context, as well as on the rebuilding of the State and renewed humanitarian action and development projects, he said, urging more support and welcoming international conferences and other cooperation for that purpose.  The fight against piracy should focus on the elimination of the underlying causes, as well as the strengthening of forces, including AMISOM, to counter the scourge.

Much had been done by the international community and Somalis, and much remained to be done, he concluded.  The quest for stability in Somalia was ongoing and was making progress, even with its imperfections, and it must be pursued to its completion.  He pledged that the African Union would carry out its commitments to that end.

Statements

PHILIP JOHN PARHAM ( United Kingdom) said the situation remained of deep concern, with worsening a humanitarian situation and ongoing attacks against civilians.  He condemned such attacks and called as well for an end to attacks directed against AMISOM and humanitarian workers and facilities.  He applauded the efforts of AMISOM and welcomed the Government’s efforts at reconciliation, including the recent signing of an agreement with the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama'a, as an important step forward in the political arena.  Still, there were fewer than 15 months before the transition was set to be completed under the Djibouti Agreement, and it was clear that much remained to be done.

He said that ongoing violence in Somalia had a destabilizing effect on the region and the continent as a whole.  It hindered cooperation in the region in areas of common interest and promoted mistrust rather than dialogue.  The most serious impact of the ongoing violence and tension was on the Somali people themselves.  Indeed, they had suffered for far too long, and the attacks on humanitarian workers, including those that had caused WFP to curtail it activities, had only compounded the problem.

Over the past few years, the United Kingdom had provided more than $60 million to support various activities in Somalia.  It also played an important role in the European Union piracy mission.  The United Kingdom believed in the need for a strong United Nations lead in Somalia, especially to ensure stronger cooperation in Nairobi and an enhanced presence in Mogadishu.  All United Nations entities must work in a concerted manner, despite the difficulties.  Still, as the United Nations could not carry out all the urgent tasks alone, more international cooperation was needed.  The future of Somalia was ultimately in the hands of the Somali people, and he welcomed recent efforts by the Government, including in areas of political outreach and national reconciliation, and urged even greater strides in the future.  Nevertheless, he said:  “The clock is ticking and we risk losing the rare moment of opportunity provided by the Djibouti agreement.”

BROOKE D. ANDERSON ( United States) said her country continued to view the situation in Somalia with “deep concern”.  Stability in that country depended on effective governance underpinned by inclusive political dialogue.  As such, the United States supported the Djibouti peace process, which should remain the primary focus of all parties.  She urged all groups interested in peace to come to the table.  She went on to welcome the Memorandum of Understanding with the Puntland Administration on cooperation on piracy, as well as the framework agreement with the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a.

She urged the Government to make even more progress on its federal and transitional agenda by, among others, expanding the provision of basic social services, fostering an integrated security force, and providing more support to the country’s various regions.  Among other actions that could help stabilize the country, the Government must provide young people with employment opportunities that offered viable alternatives to extremism and militancy.  The United States hoped the upcoming Istanbul Conference would generate support for investments in Somalia’s infrastructure and in training programmes for Somali citizens.

With greater security, the Government could make greater gains, she continued.  Yet, “spoilers” still took actions that risked Somalia’s future.  It was necessary, therefore, for all States to ensure that the measures adopted by the Security Council were fully implemented, including the assets freeze, travel ban and targeted arms embargo, to undercut the activities of Al-Shabaab and other spoilers.  She expressed support for the work of AMISOM and urged more States to contribute technical and troop support to its operation.  The United States was ready to provide support for pre-deployment training and equipment to any countries willing to provide troops to AMISOM.

She said that reports citing increased child recruitment were deeply troubling.  That practice was appalling and the United States condemned it and urged all parties to release the children being held within their ranks.  As for the dire humanitarian situation, some 3.2 million Somalis now needed food and non-food assistance.  The United States was committed to meeting the needs of those civilians and condemned all efforts by Al-Shabaab and others to obstruct aid delivery.  The United States was also committed to seeing peace and stability take hold in Somalia, and she urged the Government to continue its steady course to ensure the future, which the people of that country deserved.

ERTUĞRUL APAKAN ( Turkey) noted positive developments in Somalia, particularly the 15 March agreement, which showed the results of the outreach of the Transitional Federal Government and proved that there was no substitute for a political settlement.  He called totally unacceptable, however, the ongoing human rights and humanitarian situation.  He expressed gratitude to AMISOM and called for adequate support for it, while noting the importance of also strengthening the Government’s security structures.  The Transitional Federal Government should continue with its efforts to become more functional and inclusive, while completing the drafting of a constitution, progress on which had been impressive. 

He said that the international community must support the consolidation of gains, through assistance to both development and security.  For that reason, Turkey was hosting the Istanbul Conference, from 21 to 23 May, which was expected to be attended by a number of heads of State and Government and was meant to support all three pillars of the Djibouti Agreement.  The conference was not just a donor’s conference; on its third day, strategies to stimulate the Somali economy and job creation would be discussed, in conjunction with the private sector.  He hoped to send a strong message from Istanbul to the Somali people, telling them they were not alone.

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) agreed with the assessment of the briefers that State authority was growing through the Government’s efforts, but he remained concern by the strength and activities of the extremists in the country.  The African Union mission was definitely a stabilizing factor, he said, also advocating for its adequate support.  In addition, the work of the United Nations agencies should be better coordinated with each other and other actors.

He supported strengthening the sanctions regime, but said that targeted sanctions must be based on reliable information.  On piracy, he supported fighting the threat, and acknowledged that prosecution of pirates was a problem.  He noted the suggestions for international mechanisms, but stressed that underlying causes must be addressed to eliminate the problem.  It was a priority to extend Government Authority throughout the country, he added.

NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE ( France) said his country supported the Transitional Federal Government, especially as the situation in Somalia remained fragile.  Indeed, extremists attacks against the Government and civilians were cause for concern.  France also supported the holding of the Istanbul Conference.  But progress rested on the efforts of the Government to bolster its military strength, and towards that goal, the European Union would shortly launch a military training programme that included Government forces, with the support of AMISOM.

He urged the United Nations to continue its support, including through ensuring follow-up of sanctions measures.  While piracy incidents had decreased in recent months, the international community must step up its efforts, including on land, to bring piracy in the region to an end.  Somalia was beset by one of the most complex conflicts.  The international community, and the Security Council, must continue to monitor the situation closely.  While awaiting the Secretary-General’s recommendations on the way forward, it was necessary to ensure that all activities undertaken in support of Somalia were better coordinated.

DU XIACONG ( China) said that since the Council’s last briefing, there had been no marked improvement in the situation in Somalia:  piracy remained rampant; the security situation had worsened; and the humanitarian situation had deteriorated.  The state of affairs, therefore, remained a serious threat to regional and international peace and security. The key was an end to armed conflict and full implementation of the Djibouti process.  China called on all parties in the region to participate earnestly in that process.

He recognized the important role being played by AMISOM and the African countries that were contributing troops to that mission.  The United Nations should play an even greater role in seeking a solution to the problem.  As such, he supported the deployment of a United Nations-led mission in the country as soon as political and security situations permitted.  China also favoured the holding of the Istanbul Conference and hoped that that meeting would generate even greater international will and support for Somalia and its people.  

YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) said that the situation in Somalia remained highly volatile, requiring a renewed commitment to translate words into action.  For that purpose, the Transitional Federal Government should put its agreement with the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a into force and continue outreach.  Institution-building, including of the Somali security structure, was crucial.  The major challenge was how to make those efforts persistent and sustainable.  The international community must honour its commitment to support the Government’s efforts.

He paid tribute to the AMISOM troops, including to their police trainers in Mogadishu, and expressed hope more police personnel would be deployed soon, along with equipment that must accompany training efforts for the Somali security structures and the rest of the AMISOM support package.  Noting Japan’s support for those efforts, he appealed for the remaining 25 per cent of funds pledged in Brussels to be disbursed as soon as possible.

He stressed, in addition, the importance of the emergency rehabilitation project at the Port of Mogadishu, and cooperation between Mogadishu, Puntland and Somaliland.  He hoped that the Government would make the best use of international support and strengthen its governance.  Noting that piracy was still spreading, he said a multifaceted international approach was needed, through security, capacity building, youth employment projects and other things.  Japan would continue to play its part in all those efforts.

BULUS PAUL ZOM LOLO ( Nigeria) said it was evident that the situation in Somalia remained dire, even though the Transitional Federal Government was making progress, which he commended.  The remaining period before the end of the transition was pivotal for turning the situation around.  On the political front, there needed to be more progress in drafting the new constitution based on consultation; the agreement with the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a was important in that context. 

In addition, he said the Government should be supported in extending its authority and its ability to raise revenue.  For that purpose, he favoured licensing fees for fishing to be paid to the Government.  Support for economic activities must be accompanied by continued humanitarian assistance, and he urged donors to honour their pledges.  Increased support was also required for Somali security forces, for fighting piracy and protecting humanitarian workers.  He called for the full implementation of the AMISON support package, along with other necessary backing for salaries and other necessities of AMISOM troops, and stressed that the United Nations system in Somalia must become better coordinated and integrated.

CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) said his delegation was concerned that despite the Transitional Government’s efforts, the security situation in Somalia remained extremely volatile.  At the same time, he applauded the efforts of AMISOM and the Government to achieve adequate security that was so desperately needed in the country.  He supported efforts to reform the security sector, but stressed that such reform must have firm political backing and must promote good governance and the rule of law.  Efforts to bolster national reconciliation and draft a constitution were key to enhancing the Government’s legitimacy.  He favoured a gradual increase in United Nations support in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

Turning to piracy, he said that the joint efforts of the European Union, the Somali Government, and other actors were making headway against that threat to the region’s security and economy.  Meanwhile, support for capacity-building in Somalia and other countries of the region to monitor their coastline must be stepped up, without diverting attention from the need to address the root causes of piracy on land.  Mexico believed that the international community must seriously strengthen Somalia’s national capacity to prosecute those charged with piracy and related crimes.  National mechanisms should be bolstered ahead of international or other measures to tackle that scourge.

Mexico was particularly concerned by the increased attacks on civilians and reports of growing child recruitment, he said, urging all warring parties to release children held within their ranks and ensure their return to their homes and families.  He believed that targeted and consistent sanctions could assist the peace process.  As Chairman of the Council’s Somalia Sanctions Monitoring Committee, he had led a recent mission to the Horn of Africa to raise awareness about that body’s work and to invite all Governments in that region to cooperate with the Council.  He would soon update the Council on that visit.

MIRSADA ČOLAKOVIĆ ( Bosnia and Herzegovina) reiterated his Government’s full support for Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government and the Djibouti peace process, and emphasized that the entire international community’s cooperation and assistance was necessary to assist the Government in ensuring that the requisite political and security conditions were in place for the successful completion of the transition by 2011.  He noted with satisfaction the progress that had been made in several key areas identified in the Secretary-General’s report, especially towards building a national security force, national reconciliation, capacity-building constitution drafting, and expanding political space in the country.

He said he was concerned, however, about the security situation, especially in the southern and central parts of the country.  “We strongly condemn the continuing attacks against the civilian population, the Transitional Government and AMISOM,” he said, adding that he was also deeply concerned that more and more children were being recruited to take part in the conflict.  Bosnia and Herzegovina urged all the parties to the conflict to fully comply with international humanitarian law in order to protect the civilian population.  He was also concerned at the alarming humanitarian crisis.  Attacks against relief workers and ongoing fighting and persistent drought were severely exacerbating delivery of humanitarian assistance.  Hopefully, the United Nations Consolidated Appeals and the Transition Plan for Somalia would fund continued humanitarian activities.

In order to achieve lasting peace and stability, he urged the Government to build on the positive momentum in the areas identified by the Secretary-General, and to intensify its actions in other areas, such as political reconciliation and outreach, security, stability and service delivery.  Moreover, it was of crucial importance for the international community to use the window of opportunity to strengthen its presence in the country by further coordinating its actions.  Bosnia and Herzegovina supported the three-phased withdrawal proposal and welcomed completion and approval of the first accommodation facilities in a Bancroft Global Development compound in connection with establishing the second “light footprint” phase.  On combating poverty, he shared the view of others that long-term solutions would only come through the rule of law and the establishment of security on the ground.

EMMANUEL ISSOZE-NGONDET ( Gabon) said that the Somali crisis was above all political and institutional, and for that reason, the restoration of the authority of the State and the strengthening of the peace process were crucial.  In that respect, the Djibouti Accord remained central and the agreement with the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a an important advance.  The Transitional Federal Government must pursue further dialogue with insurgent groups, with the objective of bringing them into the peace process and seeking reconciliation.  The international community must continue to support the Transitional Federal Government in those efforts.  He called for operationalizing the Somali Trust Fund and the honouring of pledges from the Brussels Conference, as well as greater coordination between international efforts and those of the Government in, among other areas, protection of civilians. 

He commended AMISOM for its role in security, calling for greater support to the mission, and thanked all those countries that contributed to or supported it.  A larger United Nations presence was eventually needed, and in the meantime, the assistance to national security forces was critical.  He supported all initiatives to fight piracy and to bring those guilty of the crime to justice.  In order to stem piracy, however, the internal situation of Somalia must be dealt with.  Given the ongoing humanitarian crisis, support should be sustained for humanitarian organizations on the ground.  In addition, economic support was crucial for the country’s long-term stability.

RUHAKANA RUGUNDA ( Uganda) also expressed continued support for the Djibouti peace process as well as the Government’s efforts to reach out to groups outside of it.  In that context, he welcomed the 15 March agreement.  He commended the Government’s efforts in the rebuilding of State institutions, noting that major challenges remained.  It was imperative for the international community to increase its support to help the Government meet those challenges and extend its authority over the entire country.  For that purpose, it needed a competent police force that was compensated in a predictable way.  The Government also needed support to build Somali infrastructure and enhance services.

He welcomed the Istanbul Conference, saying it was an opportunity to review progress and challenges.  It was also important to assist AMISOM in reaching its authorized troop levels, through predictable and timely disbursement of funds, including reimbursement of troop contributors for equipment.  He stressed that the problem of piracy would persist as long as instability existed on land.  He thanked all United Nations actors for their work in difficult conditions and advocated for United Nations agencies based in neighbouring countries to be brought into the country.

MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) said that the Transitional Federal Government had been able to withstand fierce armed opposition and to make progress in some areas of the Djibouti process and transitional agenda.  However, the obstacles to a peaceful, stable and prosperous country remained daunting.  The signing of the framework agreement with the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a had been an important achievement in connection with the Government’s reconciliation policy, and Brazil looked forward to its implementation.  It also urged other armed groups to renounce violence and join the Djibouti Process.  The decision by the Council’s Somalia sanctions committee to list Al-Shabaab and eight individuals should be seen as a wake-up call to recalcitrant groups, she added.  

She said she remained concerned about the security situation, despite the progress in international support to the restructuring of the Government forces as well as to AMISOM.   Brazil deplored the recent attacks directed at AMISON, in particular the 27 April attack on its headquarters.  She paid tribute to the Ugandan and Burundian troops for their contribution to the effort to stabilize Somalia, and said her Government was encouraged by the efforts of several Member States to train, equip and fund AMISOM and the Government security forces.  As the Government rebuilt the national force, steps must be taken to ensure that the civilian population did not continue to bear the brunt of the fighting, which had displaced some 175,000 people in the first three months of 2010. 

However, fleeing violence in Mogadishu did not always guarantee an escape from violence, she said, condemning the taking by armed groups of a medical compound in the Afgooye corridor earlier this month.  Blatant disregard for the principle of distinction had also been displayed in the recent attack against a mosque in the Bakarah market, which had killed and injured scores of people praying there.  As for piracy, Security Council resolution 1918 (2010) had been an important step against that scourge, and she encouraged all stakeholders to engage Kenya in efforts to fight impunity at sea.   Brazil also welcomed the establishment of a regional centre to prosecute suspected pirates in the Seychelles.  All States had a common interest in bringing an end to piracy, and she stressed that the only way to address that effectively would be to tackle its root causes on land.

CHRISTIAN EBNER ( Austria) said that despite the difficult security and humanitarian situation, some progress had been made in implementing the aims of the Djibouti peace process.   Austria supported the Transitional Government and urged a political process that was as inclusive and broad-based as possible.  He also supported the work of AMISOM to bring peace and stability to the country.  He welcomed the accelerated efforts of the European Union in the country, as well as the efforts of other nations to train and equip national security forces and to assist in the fight against piracy.  

He said his country was very concerned about the fragile security situation in Somalia and the impact that was having on the humanitarian situation.  He deplored attacks against aid workers and relief facilities, stressing that humanitarian deliveries must resume as soon as the security situation allowed. Austria was extremely concerned about the devastating effect of the conflict on civilians and called on all parties to comply with international humanitarian and human rights law.  He also condemned the ongoing child recruitment and, in that context, welcomed the Government’s decision to focus on protecting and promoting human rights during the coming Djibouti implementation phases.  He also welcomed the decision to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The sanctions and other measures approved by the Security Council were not directed against the people of Somalia, but against those who threatened peace, security and stability in the country.  Piracy was not only a threat to key international shipping lines, but also to Somalia’s ongoing socio-economic development.

NAWAF SALAM ( Lebanon), speaking in his national capacity, supported the Djibouti peace process and welcomed recent positive political developments, including the 15 March agreement.  He expressed hope that Government institutions would be further strengthened.  He also expressed deep concern over the ongoing conflict, which he said showed that the regular Somali army needed to be supported, and he approved of plans to assist those security services. 

He also affirmed the importance of resolution 1918 (2010) on piracy, thanking those who had provided security, but also underlining the importance of clarified fishing rights, the problem of dumping off the coast and the restoration of stability on land.  He also found interesting the idea of paying fees to the Transitional Federal Government for fishing rights.  He thanked those who had disbursed their pledges and called for more aid, as well as for the parties to abide by human rights standards in the country.  He praised AMISOM for its contributions to stability and welcomed all other international initiatives.

MORTEN WETLAND (Norway), stressing that the Somali Transitional Federal Government should be driving the Djibouti process within a unified approach, applauded the March agreement with the Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a and looked forward to outreach to other groups.  He emphasized that the implementation of agreements was more important than the signing of them.  With the end of the transition period in view, efforts by all stakeholders must be redoubled in improving the security situation, pushing forward the political process and improving the lives of children, women and men.

He said that Norway had recently transferred a small amount of funds to the Government directly through the Somali Central Bank, calling it a test to see if it could actually improve services in the city of Mogadishu.  If the money was directed in that way, he pledged that Norway would give more.  In any case, the country would continue to be a major partner in humanitarian assistance and, in that light, commended the United Nations for taking steps to address the allegations in the latest report from the Sanctions Committee’s Monitoring Group.

His country, he said, would also continue to support the implementation of the Djibouti process and reconciliation in general.  Recognizing the paramount importance of security, he commended AMISOM’s contributions and urged more countries to assist the Government in stabilizing the situation.  Having chaired the last meeting of the Contact Group on piracy, he looked forward to continue working with other States and regional organizations on the matter.

PEDRO SERRANO, Acting Head of Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, said the continued deadly attacks against the Somali peace process, the Government and AMISOM were wreaking havoc on the lives of the civilian population in that country.  A comprehensive approach was therefore essential for tackling Somalia’s challenges, one that incorporated reconciliation and outreach, security and development, human rights and cohesive governance.  The international community must remain actively engaged, and for its part, the European Union had enhanced its comprehensive approach over the past year by adopting a Horn of Africa policy.

To further that initiative, the European Union was now stepping up its engagement to support stabilization and development in Somalia, he continued, noting the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, would soon visit the region to reaffirm the bloc’s commitment to the fight against piracy and to explore the prospect of deepening cooperation with all Horn of Africa nations.  On other matters, he applauded the Transitional Government’s recent efforts to bring together all parties to ensure broad-based stability and recovery.

The Government must continue its outreach within the Djibouti framework, to enlarge its political base, he said.  The Union was concerned by recent divisions among transitional federal institutions and encouraged all parties to work together constructively to address the enormous challenges ahead.  Combating piracy required continued and comprehensive engagement.  The European Union naval operation, Atalanta, was producing positive results and its mandate had been extended.  The forthcoming debate in the General Assembly on piracy would provide an occasion to discuss such initiatives further.  Atalanta’s Operational Commander would be one of the main speakers, he said, adding that effective means for bringing suspected pirates to justice were essential to a comprehensive approach. He commended neighbouring countries for the assistance provided in that regard.  

Concluding Remarks

Summing up the discussion, Mr. OULD-ABDALLAH thanked the Council for holding today’s meeting and urged Council members and all Member States to support the Government as it expanded its activities and sphere of influence inside Mogadishu and throughout Somalia.  Without a Government in the country and in the capital, there would be no progress.  During the debate, he had taken note of the calls for more coordinated efforts on the part of the United Nations.

He had also noted that most speakers believed that stakeholders could not continue addressing the situation in Somalia by “remote control”; the international community must move back to Mogadishu.  Finally, he called on the Government and other stakeholders and donors to engage in a process that would ensure the steady payment of salaries and stipends to soldiers, civil service workers and other officials.  There was no doubt that non-payment of critical salaries was impacting security and stability in the county.

Deputy Prime Minister IBRAHIM thanked all those that had participated in the discussion.  He also thanked those that were contributing their taxpayers’ dollars to Somalia, including the United States the United Kingdom, as well as Norway, Austria and other members of the European Union.  At the same time, he said the terrorists wreaking havoc in Somalia had “good fathers” that were supporting them; they had what appeared to be an endless stream of funds at their disposal.  What could Somalia do to counter that?  The Government needed more support.

While all countries were providing funds, he said he was troubled that very little was going to the Government itself.  He added:  “We need to be trusted and we need to be held accountable for the distribution of the funds given to us”.  As

for the recent report that had cited Government waste and the diversion of humanitarian aid, he said the Government had taken that report seriously, and those responsible would be held accountable.  At the same time, that report contained false allegations, which had actually helped the enemies of the country.  “Shabaab and others are laughing at us now after that report,” he said, stressing that before such charges are levelled, against any Government, they must be well documented and the impact of making them public must be assessed.

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