Now Time for International Community to Make Vital Investment in Somalia to Nurture Fragile Peace Process, Political Affairs Head Tells Security Council
Now Time for International Community to Make Vital Investment in Somalia to Nurture Fragile Peace Process, Political Affairs Head Tells Security Council
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6701st Meeting (PM)
Now Time for International Community to Make Vital investment in Somalia to Nurture
Fragile Peace Process, Political Affairs Head Tells Security Council
Also Hears from African Union’s Peace and Security Commissioner, Ministers from
South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Azerbaijan on Next Steps at Time of ‘Real Opportunity’
As the Security Council met this afternoon to consider the situation in Somalia, it was told that it was now time for the international community to make a vital investment to nurture the fragile peace process, help the Transitional Federal Government establish authority throughout the country, build security and rule-of-law institutions, and expand the presence of the African Union.
During a meeting addressed by African Union dignitaries, Government Ministers from the region, and Council members, B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said that the Government’s efforts at building a consensus for reconciliation were slowly gaining ground, despite the serious challenge by extremists. It was important to provide the practical means to help the Government become more cohesive, strengthen its ability to address security risks, carry out reconstruction and development, and generate revenue.
All elements of a political, security and development strategy were in place, he said, adding that the focus now was on ensuring completion of the final draft of the constitution in the coming months, followed by the selection of a new parliament. That ambitious timetable required a “full buy-in and determination” by the Somalis and the international community. He reiterated that there was consensus, “both inside and outside Somalia”, and that there would be no extension of the transition period, set to conclude in August.
The Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union said “We cannot hide from the fact that, so far, the international community has yet to fully assume its responsibility in Somalia.” Indeed, he said, the world’s belated, partial and inadequate response had hardly kept pace with developments. Neither anticipating challenges nor moving proactively to avert them, the international community had failed to seize opportunities to further peace and reconciliation in Somalia, and to provide support that was truly commensurate with the challenges.
It was against that background, he explained, that the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) had decided to pursue a critical approach to enhancing the capacity of AMISOM and Government forces. To that end, he reported that a strategic concept for the Mission’s future operations had been endorsed by the African Union Peace and Security Council in January. It provided for, among other things, an increase in the level of United Nations-supported AMISOM uniformed personnel from 12,000 to 17,731.
There was an opportunity today to “learn from past experiences and shortcomings, to turn around the situation in Somalia for the greater good of its long-suffering people and in support of regional stability and international security,” he said, calling on the international community “to do more to enable us to cover the remaining ground on our long journey towards lasting peace, reconciliation and security in Somalia”.
The Chair of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, Kenya’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, said that the Union’s resolve to turn Somalia around had been unwavering since the start of the crisis there, despite the wide range of challenges. Efforts of its member States had been “supported immensely” by Council decisions to support AMISOM and the training of the Somali security forces. Gains that now boded well for Somalia included not only developments inside the country, but also the cooperative effort between the troop contributing countries, regional countries, the Union and the United Nations towards a new strategic concept for AMISOM.
Significant in the assessment was the need to raise the authorized troop level to more than 17,000 and the imperative to provide force enablers, multipliers and logistical support. In addition, he expressed hope that the Council would support the Union’s request to provide capabilities to cut Al-Shabaab supply lines. He also renewed the request for international assistance in the monitoring and inspection of all vessels entering and leaving Kismayu and he thanked the Council for reinforcing sanctions on Eritrea, hoping they would be fully enforced.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, whose delegation holds the Council’s rotating presidency for January, spoke in her national capacity when she said that the meeting took place at a time when “a ray of hope was beginning to flicker” in Somalia, which had been covered by dark clouds for so long. There was now a good possibility, with international support, for the country to move towards peace and stability. She called on all Somali stakeholders to exercise sufficient political will to meet the agreed deadlines, and on the international community to continue their work to provide relief from the widespread famine in the country. “We must not fail Somalia and her people,” she said.
There was broad agreement around the Council table that it was a time of “real opportunity” for Somalis, even amid what some described as “unimaginable” suffering. It was deemed a crucial year for the political process, with the representative of the United Kingdom saying it was time for Somalia to move out of the transition towards a genuinely legitimate and representative government structure based on a constitutional process. Note was also taken of the security progress, with Al-Shabaab having been driven back on a number of fronts. Many urged adequate, timely and predictable funding for AMISOM right now.
It was a moment of opportunity to turn the tide of violence, poverty and despair in Somalia, said the United States’ delegate, paying tribute to the remarkable courage of the troops that had helped to liberate Mogadishu. Political reform must complement the early security gains. In a time of resource austerity, it was imperative that the international community seize the moment in Somalia by coming together and rising to meet the new challenges. It would be “foolish to turn our back on the collective successes so far”, he said.
However, he said his delegation, echoing the sentiment expressed by several others today, would not tolerate a missed deadline to the transition in August. Any further United States support would be contingent upon completion of the agreed tasks, he said. “We will stand by Somalia’s side,” but were prepared to walk away if there was no concrete progress in 2012.
Also speaking today was the Minister of Defence of Uganda.
All Council members spoke. Azerbaijan’s delegation was represented by its Minister for Foreign Affairs.
A statement was also made by the representative of Burundi.
The meeting was called to order at 3:18 p.m. and adjourned at 6:01 p.m.
Meeting to consider the situation in Somalia, the Security Council had before it a 9 January letter from the Secretary-General addressed to the Council President which transmits, via Jean Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the communiqué of the 306th meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council on the strategic concept for future operations of the African Union Mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM (document S/2012/19).
Mr. Ping recalls that, as part of the preparations of the Strategic Concept, a joint African Union-United Nations technical assessment mission undertook in December 2011 extensive consultations with the troop-contributing countries to AMISOM and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, as well as field visits within Somalia itself. The Strategic Concept was further reviewed by Chiefs of Defence Staff and Ministers of Defence of the AMISOM troop contributing countries, and Ethiopia, as chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), during their meeting of 4 January 2012, in Addis Ababa.
At that meeting, the Peace and Security Council decided to renew the mandate of AMISOM for a further period of 12 months, effective 16 January 2012. It also endorsed the Strategic Concept, which notably provides for: an increase in the level of United Nations-supported AMISOM uniformed personnel from 12,000 to 17,731, including 5,700 from the Djiboutian contingent and the “re-hatted” Kenyan troops, as well as an AMISOM police component; the deployment by Burundi and Uganda of additional troops to reach the currently United Nations-authorized strength of 12,000, with the understanding that the utilization of these additional troops will be determined on the basis of the needs in the main liberated areas; and the insertion of AMISOM troops in areas liberated with the support of Ethiopia, in view of the urgency of the stated intent of Ethiopia to withdraw from those areas.
The Strategic Concept further calls for: the extension of the AMISOM area of responsibility by fast-tracking the insertion of AMISOM troops in all the liberated areas; the provision of the required force enablers and multipliers, as well as logistical support to other components of AMISOM; and the enhancement of the Transitional Federal Government security and allied forces to enable and empower them to play an increased role in the implementation of the Strategic Concept.
Mr. Ping says that it is the African Union’s view that implementation of the Strategic Concept would go a long way in helping to improve security in Somalia and to further peace and reconciliation in the country. Accordingly, the Peace and Security Council requested the Security Council to expeditiously consider and authorize the support required for the immediate implementation of that Concept. “This will enable us to take advantage of the unique opportunity created as a result of the gains recorded by the forces of the Transitional Federal Government and those of AMISOM, as well as of the ongoing military operations conducted against Al-Shabaab elsewhere in the country,” says Mr. Ping.
Council President MAITE NKOANA-MASHABANE, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, speaking in her national capacity, said that the meeting was an example of cooperation between the Council and the African Union in matters of peace and security in Africa. It took place at a time when “a ray of hope was beginning to flicker” in Somalia, which had been covered by dark clouds for so long. There was now a good possibility, with international support, for the country to move towards peace and stability. She expressed gratitude to the Secretary-General’s firm commitment to that end.
Recounting advances made recently in agreements on Somali institutions, she said that she was encouraged by the progress made thus far in the Road Map towards ending the transition period. She called on all Somali stakeholders to exercise sufficient political will to meet the agree-upon deadlines. In addition, she said that opportunities presented by the liberation of areas from Al-Shabaab must be seized, and welcomed recent assessments of the needs of AMISOM, looking forward to an enhanced support package for the Mission. She also encouraged the international community to continue their work to provide relief from the widespread famine in the country. “We must not fail Somalia and her people,” she said.
B. LYNN PASCOE, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said that despite the achievements of recent years, many challenged continued to plague attempts to stabilize the political, security and humanitarian situation. Close work continued with the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, and international partners to advance the peacemaking efforts in Somalia. Some outstanding issues required further refinement before Council action could be requested, such as establishing further linkages between the political and military strategies; agreeing on clear command and control arrangements; determining the allocation of AMISOM contingents per sector; further fine-turning a reasonable package of enablers and force multipliers; and identifying the required support for the Transitional Federal Government and its allied forces.
Outlining what he called the “Somalia strategy”, he said the political strategy followed over the past four years had been consistent. It involved supporting the Transitional Federal Government to bring the transition to a close; to assist it to broaden the base of the peace process through outreach and reconciliation; and to help develop basic State institutions, especially in the security sector. The “Roadmap for Ending the Transition”, signed in Mogadishu on 6 September, would help to implement the first part of the political strategy on moving the transition to a close. It entailed, among other things, finalizing the constitution-making process, where there had been some good progress. The outreach and reconciliation efforts of the Transitional Federal Government with groups outside the peace process had also been supported.
Another imperative, he said, was to help the Government develop functioning State institutions. In that regard, the Government was committed to moving forward. Among other things, it had been collecting revenue from Mogadishu port and airport, and paying its security forces and civil servants. It had established a functioning Joint Security Committee, and the Cabinet had approved a National Security Policy. Efforts to strengthen AMISOM, build Somalia’s security institutions and address piracy were an integral part of the broader United Nations strategy. Since 2009, UNSOA (United Nations Support Office for AMISOM) had been building AMISOM’s capacity to provide security through its logistic support package, and Member States had provided significant assistance in forming the Somalia National Security Force. Work was ongoing to improve living conditions and provide the police force with the necessary equipment. Also, police stations were being refurbished. With that support, the Government had expanded its presence throughout most of Mogadishu.
At the same time, he said, the efforts of the international maritime forces were having a significant impact on the fight against piracy, with the number of ships being captured declining. The contributions of the various naval forces were an integral part of a wider effort that included assisting local communities to undertake alternative forms of employment; tracing the flow of money to identify those benefitting from piracy; prosecuting those responsible; and creating a coastal security force.
Turning to humanitarian efforts, he said that despite many risks and difficulties, the United Nations and other humanitarian actors had provided assistance to Somalis in the country and in refugee camps for the past 20 years. Over the past year, they had managed to reach more than 2 million people with food assistance, and 1.4 million through water and sanitation interventions. In addition, the massive scale-up in humanitarian efforts had reduced the number of areas affected by famine from six to three. However, humanitarian operations continued to face serious difficulties in gaining access to affected populations. That would be an ongoing challenge as long as the security dynamics remained fluid. Ultimately, sustainable peace and stability was the only way to bring an end to the Somali people’s suffering. But, it should be recognized that the increase in military operations brought some risks and difficulties for civilians and humanitarian operations; the United Nations was working to mitigate those as much as possible.
As for the way ahead, he believed all elements of a political, security and development strategy were in place. Over the next few months, the focus would be on ensuring that the final draft of the constitution was completed by 20 April and adopted by May. That should be followed by the selection of a new parliament. The timetable was ambitious and required “full buy-in and determination by the Somalis and the full support of the international community”. He reiterated the consensus, “both inside and outside Somalia”, that there will be no extension of the transition period. Another major task would be expanding the Government’s control by establishing administrative arrangements for those areas in southern Somalia recently recovered by military actions by Al-Shabaab. A further component was improving governance, promoting transparency in the use of financial resources and establishing a functioning civil service. Importantly, work would also continue on building the capacity of the security forces, and revitalization of economic activity and delivery of basic services would also be crucial.
To achieve that strategy, it was “vital to address the issue of internal and external spoilers”, he said. Of particular concern was the impact of the current parliamentary crisis. The international community must support the Transitional Federal Government to resolve the crisis through dialogue. The Security Council had indicated its willingness to act against spoilers in the peace process. “We need to consider how to make that a reality.” Presently, on the security front, Al-Shabaab remained a threat, despite its withdrawal in August 2011 from Mogadishu. Indeed, it had stepped up its suicide and improvised explosive device attacks in the capital. A concerted military offensive by AMISOM and regional powers might present a chance of defeating them as a military movement, but the political and ideological challenge must also be addressed. That could be achieved through delivery of a “peace dividend” and real changes in people’s lives. Limited resources hindered the ability to do more.
As efforts continued to support the peacemaking efforts in Somalia, it was important to provide the practical means to help the Government become more cohesive and inclusive, strengthen its ability to address the security challenges, carry out reconstruction and development, and generate and collect revenue. Also important was for the international community, with regional organizations, to build on the recent gains. The United Nations system, guided by the Council, would provide the necessary coordination and support. He looked forward to the upcoming London Conference, which was an opportunity to discuss some of those critical issues. It was clear that the only lasting solution for Somalia was one that was created and led by the Somalis themselves. The Government’s efforts at building a consensus for reconciliation were slowly gaining ground, despite the serious challenge by extremists. The international community must make a vital investment now to nurture the fragile peace process, help the Government establish its authority throughout the country, build its security and rule of law institutions, and expand AMISOM’s operations, as requested by the African Union.
RAMTANE LAMAMRA, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, said that in his last address to the Council he had conveyed the African Union Peace and Security Council’s appeal to enhance the United Nations support package to Somalia. The Council had subsequently adopted resolution 2964 (2011), which had authorized the Secretary-General to continue to provide support for an enhanced troop strength of 12,000. “That the Security Council’s decision fell short of what the African Union requested is in no doubt; yet it represented a step forward and we endeavoured to make the best of it in support of the aspirations of the Somali people,” he said. Today, he was pleased to report significant progress had been made on the ground by AMISOM forces and those of the Transitional Government.
“For the first time in 20 years, almost the whole of Mogadishu is now under control of the [Government],” he declared, noting that in addition to military operations in other parts of the country by the Transitional Federal Government forces, with the support of Kenya and Ethiopia, Al-Shabaab extremists and other anti-peace elements had been further weakened. The Somali population had been quick to embrace the relative peace in the wake of those efforts, he said, and informed the Council that since August 2011, the long-beleaguered capital had been experiencing “something of a revival”, with roads under repair, homes being rebuilt and markets reopening. Further, traffic at Aden Adbulleh International Airport had tripled and “the line of ships waiting to dock at the sea port grows by the day.”
He stressed that such achievements had been accomplished by an under-resourced and ill-equipped AMISOM. They had also come at considerable cost to that operation, as scores of young Burundians, and Ugandans, fighting beside their Somali comrades, had paid the ultimate price in the line of duty. Here he noted that last October had been “particularly difficult” as Government and AMISOM forces had stepped up their efforts to secure the capital following Al-Shabaab’s forced withdrawal. “At the [African Union] we are determined to ensure the sacrifices they have made, on behalf of all of us, are not in vain,” he said.
Continuing, he said that in spite of the severe challenges and “devastating” humanitarian crisis, the gains on the ground had created and unprecedented window of opportunity to further peace and reconciliation, and to help the Somali people “open a new chapter in their troubled history”. Implementation of the Kampala Accord and the September 2011 Political Road Map was “generally on course”, he reported, but stressed that challenges undoubtedly remained. Pointing in that regard to the difficulties faced by the Transitional Federal Parliament — including the ongoing paralysis that had stifled its work, and, on one occasion, a brawl that had broken out as a result of the illegal removal of the Speaker — he said that such problems were to be expected given the complexity and protracted nature of the conflict in Somalia.
“In a way, this situation is as much a reflection of our failure, as an international community, to provide support that is truly commensurate with the challenges at hand,” he continued, explaining that it was against such a background that the African Union and IGAD had decided to pursue a critical approach to enhancing the capacity of AMISOM and Government forces. To that end, he was pleased to report that the Strategic Concept for the Mission’s future operations had been endorsed by the African Union Peace and Security Council at a meeting in Addis Ababa on 5 January.
That Concept provided, among other things, for an increase in the level of United Nations-supported AMISOM uniformed personnel from 12,000 to 17,731, including 5,700 from the Djiboutian contingent and the “re-hatted” Kenyan troops, as well as an AMISOM police component; the deployment by Burundi and Uganda of additional troops to reach the currently United Nations-authorized strength of 12,000; and the enhancement of the Transitional Federal Government security and allied forces to enable and empower them to play an increased role in the implementation of the Strategic Concept. He reiterated the African Union’s call on the Security Council to “expeditiously” consider and authorize the support required to implement the Strategic Concept, which relied heavily on the provision of force enablers, logistical support and other critical requirements.
He went on to say that the African Union Commission would accelerate the preparations and consultations on the follow-on planning requirements, through continued engagement with the United Nations, the main troop-contributing countries, IGAD and other partners. In addition, with several new areas throughout the country being liberated from insurgents due to the efforts of Kenyan and Ethiopian forces, it was important to ensure there was no political vacuum in those regions. As coherence between military operations and political strategy remained imperative, the Commission would continue to support the concerted efforts of the Special Representative of the Chairperson, Boubacar Diarra, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Augustine Mahiga, and the IGAD Facilitator, Kipruto Kirwa, to assist Somali leaders and other stakeholders in the implementation of the Kampala Accord and Political Road Map.
“ Somalia is at a crossroads. We should not relent in urging the Somali stakeholders that they should take advantage of the current momentum to, once and for all, bring an end to the violence and suffering visited on their people by the two-decades-long conflict,” he said, adding that the international community should insist on full compliance with the Kampala Accord and the Political Road Map, as well as the fact that the Somali stakeholders themselves had the primary responsibility for achieving peace and reconciliation in their country.
Yet, he said: “We cannot hide from the fact that, so far, the international community has yet to fully assume its responsibility in Somalia.” Indeed, the world’s “belated”, “partial” and “inadequate” response had hardly kept pace with the developments on the ground; had not forcefully addressed certain aspects of the crisis; and had not provided the resources needed to deal with the myriad challenges. Neither anticipating challenges on the ground or moving proactively to avert them, the international community had also failed to seize opportunities to further peace and reconciliation in Somalia.
“Today, we have an opportunity, learning from our past experiences and shortcomings, to turn around the situation in Somalia for the greater good of its long-suffering people and in support of regional stability and international security,” he said. While he reiterated the African Union’s gratitude to the Council for the steps it had already taken in support of AMISOM, he said, “we cannot but call on you to do more to enable us to cover the remaining ground on our long journey towards lasting peace, reconciliation and security in Somalia.”
MOSES WETANG’ULA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kenya and Chair of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, said that the Union’s resolve to turn Somalia around had been unwavering since the start of the crisis there, despite the wide range of challenges. Efforts of its member States had been “supported immensely” by Council decisions to support AMISOM and the training of the Somali security forces. Developments that now boded well for Somalia included not only developments inside the country, but also the cooperative effort between the troop contributing countries, regional countries, the Union and the United Nations towards a new strategic concept for AMISOM. Significant in the assessment included was the need to raise the authorized troop level from 12,000 to 17,731 and the imperative to provide force enablers, multipliers and logistical support.
In addition, he expressed hope that the Council would support the Union’s request to provide capabilities to cut Al-Shabaab supply lines. In that context, he also renewed the request for international assistance in the monitoring and inspection of all vessels entering and leaving Kismayu, and he thanked the Council for reinforcing sanctions on Eritrea, hoping they would be fully enforced. Worried by current political developments in Somalia, he also hoped that the Council would press the Somali leadership to stay within the agreed framework, using sanctions and/or incentives, if necessary.
Calling attention to the humanitarian situation in Somalia, he noted that Kenya hosted more than 600,000 refugees in the Dadaab complex, assistance to whom was threatened by the withdrawal of some agencies after attacks and threats from Al-Shabaab. The Council, he stressed, must urge humanitarian actors to stand in solidarity with Somalia and continue to press for humanitarian access, taking measures to hold to account those who hampered humanitarian efforts. His country, he affirmed, remained committed to providing the necessary corridors and other support for such efforts. He pointed to the need to support activities that restored normalcy and livelihoods in areas that had been liberated, as the basis for extending national governance and reconciliation. Consideration, he stressed, must also be given to next steps after the end of the transitional period, while support for building the security and administration capacity of Somali institutions was critical.
CHRISPUS KIYONGA, Minister of Defence of Uganda, urged that all efforts of the international community be galvanized to seize the opportunity presented by the visible progress that had been made to stabilize Somalia and that now offered prospects and a new opportunity to deliver a final blow to the forces of Al-Shabaab, which opportunity should not be missed. Pointing out that Uganda and Burundi, acting through AMISOM, had been in Mogadishu supporting the Transitional Federal Government and battling Al-Shabaab since 2007, he said the two nations had driven the enemy out of Mogadishu and enabled the Transitional Federal Government to control that city at great sacrifice in terms of lost lives, as well as at the cost of resources expended by the United Nations, the European Union and a number of bilateral donors.
It was Uganda’s view that even greater progress could have been made had it not been for a number of shortcomings; among them, the challenges of cohesion within the Transitional Federal Government leadership; the failure to fast-track development of the Somali security forces, who by now should have been in full control of at least Mogadishu; the insufficiency of forces within AMISOM; and the initial lack of enthusiasm from the international community. He respectively commended Kenya for pursuing the Al-Shabaab terrorists into Somalia; Ethiopia for its strong support to the Transitional Federal Government allied forces; and Djibouti for having started deploying its promised 850 troops into Somalia. The required logistics for his country to deploy the final 1,700 troops were being finalized by the United States and he expected those troops to be in place in Somalia by March. Kenya and Djibouti had together undertaken to deploy into AMISOM a total of over 5,000 troops, in order to beef up that Mission’s troop levels to over 17,000, he said.
Continuing, he said that based on the Peace and Security Council of the African Union’s approval of a strategic concept for future AMISOM operations in Somalia, Uganda was making several recommendations: That the Security Council approve the expansion of the AMISOM force levels from 12,000 to 17,731 as requested by the African Union Peace and Security Council; that the Council recognize that the fight against Al-Shabaab was now beyond Mogadishu; that the Council enhance its support package to AMISOM adequately; and that some of the resources being used to fight piracy be extended and linked to the effort to stabilize mainland Somalia. He welcomed the United Kingdom’s initiative to convene a Special Summit on Somalia in London on 23 February, and was hopeful of a positive outcome in terms of mobilizing greater support for political, security, humanitarian and development efforts.
He also dispelled the “concerns” over a lack of clarity about the command and control structure of the proposed expanded AMISOM force, saying since Kenya entered Somalia and Ethiopia renewed support to the Transitional Federal Government allied forces, intensive consultations had been taking place at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. The three leaders — Uganda’s President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi — had been in constant contact on that matter, he said. The IGAD Summit had also held a number of extraordinary sessions on the matter of Somalia.
ELMAR MAHARRAM OGLU MAMMADYAROV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, sought a secure, stable and united Somalia. He fully supported AMISOM and urged that the situation continue to be approached with care and sensitivity, and on the basis of the comprehensive strategy aimed at addressing the political, security and humanitarian problems. As Somalia moved towards the end of the transition in August, special efforts should be made to protect the security of political gains, and ensure that all steps contributed to delivering the Road Map. It was obvious that the security gains on the ground required adequate international assistance. In that, AMISOM must be provided with all necessary resources; those available to the United Nations and the mission were not presently commensurate with the challenges or mandates.
He said he fully supported the Secretary-General’s view that Somalia needed sustained help to implement the Road Map. Also crucial was continued assistance for building Somali institutions and combating the asymmetric terrorist attacks. He was also gravely concerned about the humanitarian situation, and he appealed to Governments and international humanitarian organizations to provide aid for the Horn of Africa, including Somalia, the worst affected in the region. It was important that the international community continue to support Somalia, including through the United Nations consolidated appeal. All countries must allow unimpeded humanitarian access and ensure the safety of those workers.
MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said the situation in Somalia was grave and the ongoing suffering unimaginable, but it was a time of “real opportunity”. The country was entering a crucial year for the political process and security progress on the ground. Al-Shabaab had been driven back on several fronts. The opportunity must be seized to make real progress and deliver a better future for Somalis. He saluted the work of the United Nations and other humanitarian actors in combating the famine and drought, and he welcomed the support from new donors, but it was vital for the international community to sustain their support for the relief effort.
He said the United Kingdom was committed to supporting the United Nations-led Djibouti peace process, and he noted that the transitional government arrangement under that process ended in August. He urged those institutions to avoid squabbling and make progress in implementing the Road Map before then. It was time for Somalia to move out of the transition towards a genuinely legitimate and representative government structure based on a constitutional process. The Somalis themselves must determine their own government structure; the international community would support them, but the transition must end in August.
AMISOM’s recent success was welcome, he said, expressing regret at the losses in the Ugandan and Burundian contingents. Despite recent successes, the threat had not disappeared. Now, more than ever, it was essential to provide AMISOM with the necessary support in the form of predictable and sustained funding. The United Kingdom provided $15 million to the United Nations trust fund for AMISOM, in addition to the $6 million it had contributed in 2011. But such contributions were only a temporary solution; a long-term solution must be found to enable AMISOM to run effectively and efficiently.
There was an opportunity now to address the wider strategic challenges, he said. That should not be squandered. Thus, a conference would be held in London on 23 February to discuss how the international community might more effectively support progress in Somalia. The piracy problem remained a serious threat, and the conference would be used to promote engagement in regional maritime building. Now, more than ever, there was an opportunity to build stability in Somalia, a chance for the international community to “come together and act”, he said.
LI BAODONG (China), noting progress in Somalia in institution-building and security, said that fully implementing the Road Map on schedule was critical. The international community should provide more support for that purpose, while political stakeholders in Somalia must maintain unity and overcome their differences. Commending AMISOM and those who contributed to it, he hoped that the Transitional Federal Government would take effective measures to administer the new areas under its control. Commending the role of the African Union, he welcomed its recommendations for the reconfiguration of AMISOM, and he urged all parties in Somalia to cooperate with humanitarian efforts there.
JOSE FILIPE MORAES CABRAL (Portugal) agreed that it was critical to take advantage of the current window of opportunity for Somalia and to consolidate recent gains by the provision of services and security, for which the European Union’s training mission was important. His country would continue its support to AMISOM as well, and he welcomed offers for additional troops for the Mission. He encouraged continued international support for the Mission and for humanitarian aid. Stating that political progress was critical, he called on the signatories of the Kampala Accord to ensure a timely transition, noting the importance of women’s participation and respect for human rights in the process. He urged unhindered access for humanitarian aid across Somalia, and pledged his country’s continued engagement on the multiple challenges that the country faced. He, finally, welcomed the upcoming London Conference.
MARTIN BRIENS (France) said that agreement on the Road Map was a milestone and its timely implementation was indispensable, even though the transitional institutions faced considerable challenges in security in Mogadishu and must exhibit real political will to fight piracy off the coast. The Council must reinforce its vigilance on the transitional institutions, given the parliamentary crisis of December and the general lag in implementation of the Road Map despite some progress. As the Council had already indicated, international support for the transitional institutions would depend on that implementation. Positive developments must be consolidated and followed up upon. Those who hampered the peace process should become the object of sanctions.
In terms of security, he commended the successes of AMISOM and the Somali forces, which he said were consolidated by the Secretary-General’s visit and the return of United Nations agencies, which he encouraged. He welcomed, as well, the weakening of Al-Shabaab. The requests of the African Union in the context of the strategic concept for AMISOM must now be carefully analyzed, while it must be remembered that priorities also lay in ensuring that Somali security forces could eventually take over. Unimpeded access for humanitarian aid must be guaranteed.
GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala) pointed out that the work of the African Union Mission in Somalia and the most recent United Nations-African Union collaboration in planning its next phase were examples of the close cooperation between those two entities. Only a month ago the historic visit of the Secretary-General and General Assembly President to Somalia took place. The impact generated by the visit without doubt contributed to the results of the first national constitutional conference in Garowe from 21-23 December and showed the commitment of national institutions to finalize the transition period before 20 August 2012. Guatemala, like other Council members, believed that it was essential for the Transitional Federal Government to adhere to the Road Map, as well as to solve the parliamentary crisis. It was necessary for the Transitional Federal Government to show leadership and improve accountability and transparency. The political process needed to be inclusive and representative of the Somali people.
Guatemala also agreed on the need for a coordinated and coherent effort against Al-Shabaab. AMISOM also continued to face funding gaps, he said, stressing that, for its next phase of operations, funding needed to be “adequate, secure and predictable”. At the same time, it was necessary to use a comprehensive approach to the situation in Somalia. The security strategy must be aligned with the fulfilment of the Road Map. The long-term effects of the humanitarian catastrophe and the development agenda must also remain priorities.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR (Pakistan) said that his country’s engagement with Somalia had only grown stronger in the 18 years since 24 Pakistani peacekeepers laid down their lives in Mogadishu while saving colleagues of various nationalities. Commending AMISOM on its efforts and endorsing the call to increase its uniformed personnel levels, he stressed that predictable and continuous funding for the Mission must be ensured. International assistance for the development and enhancement of the Somali security forces was also essential. He also called on international partners to remain seized of the famine crisis. Welcoming the political progress, he expressed hope that the London Conference would prove to be an important milestone in Somalia’s journey to peace and stability.
Somalia’s multidimensional challenges and problems, he said, necessitated a comprehensive approach that took into account political, security, economic and environmental factors. Such an approach would help end piracy off the coast. Affirming that the African Union’s sustained engagement with the country augured well for its future, he urged the Security Council to seize current opportunities “and make amends for years of neglect suffered by Somalis”. He pledged that his country would remain “a steadfast partner of Somalia”.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS (United States) said Somalia continued to face Africa’s most complex challenges. Although the famine had eased in some parts of the country, 3.7 million Somalis were still in need of humanitarian assistance, nearly 1 million lived in exile, and 1.5 million were displaced and experiencing famine conditions. All parties must ensure immediate and unfettered access to those in need of emergency assistance. Despite donor support, there were still many gaps. The recently launched 2012 consolidated appeal had sought $1.5 billion; the United States urged Member States to support it. The total amount of United Nations humanitarian aid to the region since October 2010 was $870 million, $250 million of which was for Somalia.
Meanwhile, he said, Al-Shabaab continued its despicable acts, including suicide bombs and attacks on civilians and humanitarian workers at the height of the world’s gravest humanitarian catastrophe. At the same time, it was a moment of opportunity to turn the tide of violence, poverty and despair in Somalia. The remarkable courage of the troops had helped to liberate Mogadishu. He urged the prompt resolution of any remaining questions about how best to integrate the Djibouti contingent into the mission. Political reform must complement the early security gains. In a time of resource austerity, it was imperative that the international community seize the moment in Somalia by coming together and rising to meet the new challenges. It would be “foolish to turn our back on the collective successes so far”.
The United States, he said, had listened carefully to calls to increase AMISOM’s strength and to proposals to expand the use of United Nations funding for the mission. It was awaiting proposals, including on cost analysis, and would give those thorough and prompt consideration. His country would continue its strong bilateral support to AMISOM troop contributors, which was significant in terms of training and equipment, and development of the capacity of Somali security forces. It urged others to provide in-kind support without caveats for other projects, including reimbursements for contingent-owned equipment. As AMISOM expanded its footprint, it was imperative that it have adequate and predictable funding. Also critical was achievement of the political strategy, and he called on all Transitional Federal Institutions to meet their Road Map obligations. Any further United States support would be contingent upon completion of those tasks. “We will stand by Somalia’s side,” but were also prepared to walk away if there was no concrete progress in 2012.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India) said the situation in Somalia was at a crossroads. Two decades of instability and insecurity had taken their political, economic and social toll and would require concerted long-term commitment. The international community’s effective engagement in 2011 helped the country get over the worst phase of the humanitarian crisis, but some quarter of a million people remained at risk. On the political front, implementation of the Road Map was crucial, particularly the drafting and adoption of a constitution, with a view to ending the transition by August. He noted several concrete measures by the Transitional Federal Government, but said it had also missed several deadlines, which had the potential to derail the Road Map’s implementation. On the security front, he commended AMISOM and the Government’s forces for the gains made against Al-Shabaab, but urged the Council to take further measures in support of the Government to restrict the resources earned by Al-Shabaab from the use of ports and export of charcoal.
He said that AMISOM, as the mainstay of the international community’s security efforts in Somalia, should be strengthened. The mission continued to face serious resource gaps. AMISOM needed adequate, secure and predictable funding, and it should be provided with enablers and force multipliers, such as helicopter units, transport and engineering capabilities. India supported their inclusion in the United Nations support package. There was also a need to expand the forces of the Transitional Federal Government and to strengthen their capacity for long-term stability and security. That required new recruitments, as well as full training and proper equipment. He called on Member States to make “un-caveated” contributions to AMISOM. Drawing attention to the piracy off the Somali coast, he said the Transitional Federal Institutions had “paid little attention” to the problem. The benchmarks on piracy in the Road Map should be expeditiously implemented, and given the growing scope of the problem, the international community should consider adopting a comprehensive counter-piracy strategy. He outlined details for such a blueprint, noting that his country had already taken several steps, including anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since 2008.
KODJO MENAN (Togo), welcoming recent progress in Somalia, including the adoption of the Road Map, called on the diverse political actors in the country to exhibit good will and work together for the success of that programme. Continued international support for that purpose was also critical. Expressing continued concern over the security situation due to terrorism in Mogadishu and Al-Shabaab operations outside the capital, he welcomed joint regional planning with AMISOM for coordinated action against Al-Shabaab and for the extension of governmental authority. In light of the challenges, he also welcomed the request of the African Union for a raise in the authorized troop level of AMISOM.
He said that the fight against piracy should be waged without mercy in a coordinated way, as it was being copied elsewhere, including in the Gulf of Guinea. He saluted the actions of the United Nations, the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the international maritime force and the International Maritime Association against piracy and called for cooperation between international actors and regional players to not only track down pirates but also cut off their supplies. Support to transitional authorities to fight piracy should include capacity-building, particularly in the area of criminal justice. In all areas, regional countries should respect the sanctions regime and work together for the stability of Somalia. International humanitarian aid must also continue.
PETER WITTIG ( Germany) reiterated strong support for AMISOM, welcoming continued support from the international community as well from members of the African Union. On the request for the increase of AMISOM troop levels, he looked forward to considering that issue constructively with other Council members. He said that security progress in Mogadishu contrasted with the lack of political progress and he called on transitional leaders to move the transitional process forward in all areas. An additional extension of the transition was not desirable and it was time to consider what should happen after the transitional period ended. In regard to a greater United Nations presence in Somalia, he remained in favour of relocation of staff of the United Nations Political Office in Somalia from Nairobi, despite acknowledging the associated difficulties.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said Somalia appeared to be showing signs of progress and hope, although it still had a long way to go. Considerable strides had been made in recent months, including some security gains, such as the removal of Al-Shabaab from Mogadishu and elsewhere, owing to the resistance by the Transitional Federal Government and robust measures by neighbouring countries, as well as international support. But, despite those achievements, considerable challenges remained. In political terms, he noted the difficulties with respect to implementing the Road Map and the “great lags” seen in fulfilling certain of its tasks. In addition, he noted tensions between the authorities in Puntland and Somaliland, as well as among regional authorities, which could undermine recent achievements. The Somali authorities should be supported in the critical transition period. That also required strengthening reconciliation institutions.
Turning to the humanitarian situation, he said that, despite halving the risk of hunger in certain areas, the situation remained tenuous for millions of Somalis. The attack in Mogadishu by Al-Shabaab elements and attempts to recover some cities demonstrated that progress was still fragile. Piracy was another challenge, which needed to be dealt with “most firmly and relentlessly”. He thanked Djibouti for its decision to deploy troops, together with Burundi and Kenya, all of which worked under very difficult conditions. That reinforcement came at the right time and could help the Somali Government enhance its control. Indeed, the increase in AMISOM’s troop strength to 17,000 would have a major impact on the ground. The Somali authorities should spare no effort to restore stability.
NÉSTOR OSORIO (Colombia) said it was crucial for the international community to provide support to the State institutions. On the security front, AMISOM’s work was critical. Thus, it must be ensured that it had the necessary resources and equipment, and that the living conditions of the contingents were improved. He welcomed the 5 January recommendations of the African Union Peace and Security Council with respect to the future of AMISOM, and the Security Council had acknowledged the urgent need to ensure the mission had predictable, reliable and timely resources. The Council must give careful consideration to the request to authorize more troops for the mission, as well as to other recommendations of the African Union. The deployed troops should also be provided with the necessary resources and equipment to carry out their mandate, both inside and outside Mogadishu. The Transitional Federal Government forces also needed equipment and training, and the chain of command within those militias must also be clarified.
He said the humanitarian situation remained very serious, requiring a sustained and coordinated effort. It must be ensured that emergency assistance increases were linked to guaranteed food security and long-term survival. That, in turn, should lead to the development of sustainable structures. He acknowledged the significant contributions by the African Union in the quest for peace in Somalia and urged all relevant players to continue their constructive participation and compliance with their Road Map obligations.
NIKITA Y. ZHUKOV (Russian Federation) agreed that the year ahead would be a critical year for Somalia, with timely progress towards the end of the transitional period requiring robust political will in Somalia and due support from the international community. Success in dealing with Al-Shabaab was a necessary condition for such progress. Coordinated efforts needed to be stepped up in that area, including an enhancement of AMISOM. His country would continue to support the African Union’s efforts, stressing that force should only be used in conjunction with advancing the political process.
HERMÉNÉGILDE NIYONZIMA (Burundi) said that the Burundian people understood, better than many, the meaning of peace and security. While the Somali unrest had somehow been perceived as a “Burundian and Ugandan issue”, the recent visit of the General Assembly President and the Secretary-General had sent a political message to the world that peace in Somalia was a concern of the international community as a whole. AMISOM was not a peacekeeping mission, which was normally deployed upon agreement between belligerents. Instead, AMISOM was considered by some Somalis as an occupation force, and was therefore a target. A military commitment in Mogadishu had never been seen as a recreational tour, and it was not a secret to say that Burundi had paid a lot in terms of human sacrifice.
The situation in Somalia had triggered some internal fears in Burundi, where political activists were trying to politically exploit the sad situation. Nonetheless, he emphasized, nothing would deviate or dilute his country’s dedication to peace and stability, not only in Somalia, but anywhere a Burundian contribution was needed. Finally, he said, the challenging situation in Somalia required more troops, more logistics and, most importantly, more dedication. Burundi remained supportive of an expansion of AMISOM and was flexible about the strategic planning presented by other troop-contributing countries.
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