Tight Deadlines, Underfunding, Political ‘Spoilers’ in Somalia Challenge Completion of Transitional Phase, Security Council Told
Tight Deadlines, Underfunding, Political ‘Spoilers’ in Somalia Challenge Completion of Transitional Phase, Security Council Told
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6770th Meeting (AM)
Tight Deadlines, Underfunding, Political ‘Spoilers’ in Somalia Challenge
Completion of Transitional Phase, Security Council Told
Transitional President Says Country ‘On the Threshold of a New Phase’;
Council Members Warn More Support to Somalia Depends on Progress, Political Will
Somalia’s transitional leaders were making significant steps in completing the tasks required to end the political transition by August 2012, but faced with tight deadlines, a lack of resources, so-called political “spoilers” and the need to administer areas recovered from insurgents, they needed greater international support, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative said this morning.
“As Somalia faces the greatest opportunity to end the transition after so much investment of by the international community and well-wishing Somalis, we must complete the tasks at hand,” Augustine Mahiga, who is also head of the United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS), told the Security Council.
“We must provide timely logistical and financial support to enable us to complete the implementation of the road map before August this year, as well as strengthen international cooperation and coordination,” he added. Joining him this morning was the President of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
Introducing the Secretary-General’s latest report on the country (see Background), Mr. Mahiga described progress in the constitution-making process, which required the selection of a Constitutional Assembly, for which a group of 135 traditional elders had been brought to Mogadishu. They would also proceed to select members of “a new, leaner Parliament” on merit-based criteria.
On security, he said that the Al-Shabaab insurgents were retreating rapidly through the efforts of allied militias, supported by an expanded African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Ethiopia. There were new challenges, however, as insurgents spilled over into Puntland and Somaliland, and asymmetrical warfare increased in Mogadishu and other recovered areas.
The Transitional Government must be assisted, he stressed, to establish local administrations in areas recovered from Al-Shabaab and to consolidate security through local security committees, as well as to provide rule of law and basic services as part of the peace dividend. In addition, he called for greater funding to help finish transitional tasks, saying the Constituent Assembly was “almost grinding to a halt” because of a lack of it.
He also stressed that the threat posed to the peace process by spoilers — who feared they would lose their privileged positions by the transition — was real, and must be dealt with. The intention to “name and shame” persons obstructing progress had been publicized. The effectiveness of such measures would be enhanced if they were supported by the Security Council’s authority.
President Ahmed said Somalia was “on the threshold of a new phase”, having come a long way in the road map’s implementation, and he asked the international community to redouble its efforts to assist the country in completing the current phase as scheduled, so as not to provide any opportunity for the return of anarchy and terrorism. The next phase required the creation of an appropriate atmosphere, he emphasized, in which Somalia remained a stable, safe place, free of chaos and violence.
In that light, he asked the Security Council to support Somalia in strengthening the work of the Constituency Assembly, encouraging reconciliation, taking a firm stand against those who created obstacles to peace, supporting the building of a Somali army and the training of a police force and intelligence service, and developing a counter-terrorism plan. To those ends, it should allow the Somali Government to import the necessary weapons for its security services and lift the arms embargo imposed on it.
He said that the Council should also help mobilize funds for Somalia’s reconstruction and work to activate its economic institutions and services. It should continue to support AMISOM forces by increasing their number and military assets, provide financial support to local administrations in areas newly liberated from Al-Qaida, and assist Somalia in providing the current members of Parliament allowances and salaries.
When Council members took the floor following those statements, they welcomed the progress towards completing the political transition, as well as advances made in security, commending AMISOM and concurring with the need for continued support to the mission. They also expressed concern over the prodigious challenges that still faced the country. Many condemned continuing terrorist attacks and stressed the need to build up the national security sector.
Many speakers, in addition, underlined the primary responsibility of Somali leaders in meeting the August deadline, with some recalling warnings given in previous meetings that further support to the transitional institutions was dependent on progress. Germany’s representative, for example, said it was international support that was lacking; it was strong political will among the Somali political class that was needed.
Members also stressed the need for measures to deal with those who obstructed progress. The representative of the United Kingdom cautioned, however, that disagreement should not itself be seen as the action of a “spoiler”. Dissent should be taken into account without derailing the process in its entirety. The process should be made as transparent as possible, with the list of selected elders — and the methods of the Assembly — should be made public.
Also speaking this morning were the representatives of the United States, South Africa, France, Russian Federation, Togo, Morocco, Colombia, Portugal, Guatemala, India, China, Pakistan and Azerbaijan.
The meeting began at 10:20 a.m. and ended at 12:37 p.m.
The Security Council had before it the report of the Secretary-General on Somalia (document S/2012/283), which provides an update on major developments in the political, security, humanitarian, recovery, development and human rights areas in the period from 9 December 2011 to 15 April 2012. It also assesses the progress made in the implementation of the road map for completing the political transition, which is due to end in August 2012.
In the report, the Secretary-General states that there has been progress on the political and security fronts. The Transitional Federal Government and its allied forces have established a presence in key strategic towns in southern and central Somalia, and the Government has begun outreach to newly recovered areas. Meanwhile, implementation of the road map included agreement among stakeholders on modalities for the formation of a Constituent Assembly, a new Federal Parliament, and elections.
He notes, however, that tensions have emerged over the selection of representatives to the Constituent Assembly and that a group of parliamentarians threatened to conduct a parallel election for President on 30 April after rejecting the road map. Meanwhile, the suicide attack in the National Theatre on 4 April, allegedly targeting the Prime Minister, has further increased mistrust within the transitional institutions and other political actors, while tensions between “Puntland”, “Somaliland” and the Transitional Federal Government also increased following the formation of the self-proclaimed “ Khaatumo State” in disputed areas in the north.
The Secretary-General calls on Somali leaders to unite in ending the transition, listening carefully to the views of the Somali people. The submission of a draft of the interim Constitution to the Constituent Assembly must form a strong basis on which to move forward, although the nature of federalism and the role of Sharia will likely need further discussion after the end of the transition and before a public referendum. He urges the Somali leadership to faithfully represent the views of their constituencies, to share the draft with the public and to conduct vigorous civic education in the period before the draft is submitted.
It is also, he stressed, essential to get the Constituent Assembly’s composition, structure and modus operandi right, noting that traditional leaders will play a central role in the selection of its members, and adding that it is crucial for Somali grass-roots communities and civil society organizations to fully participate in the process. He urges donors to assist in the body’s establishment. He says that a legal basis for the Constituent Assembly’s work is equally as important to establish.
Progress in that and other areas, however, was hampered by the political impasse in the Parliament, he said, adding that the time has come to look at alternative ways of establishing a legal basis for ending the transition. Strong measures must target those who obstruct the political process, beginning with a warning, followed by naming and shaming and, if no progress is made, action by the Security Council. He encourages Member States and subregional organizations, such as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to examine possible punitive measures. Meanwhile, Member States should encourage assisting with a severance package that recognizes the service of parliamentarians who have performed their duties honourably.
He welcomes expansion of State authority, as well as the plans of the African Union and troop-contributing countries to complete the expanded deployment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the increased role of AMISOM in enhancing the effectiveness of the Somali forces, steps to establish the agreed-on guard force, and the continuing contribution of the European Union Training Mission, calling for further support by Member States. At the same time, he notes a need for a long-term approach to building sustainable and credible local security institutions. He urges Somali stakeholders to thoroughly consider what security architecture best fits the country’s future system of governance.
Reporting on the human rights and humanitarian situations, the Secretary-General remains deeply concerned in both areas and calls on all parties to abide by their obligations and on donors to urgently support the Consolidated Appeal process, currently only 21 per cent funded.
Noting that stabilization of areas recently recovered from the insurgency requires an integrated national and international effort, including the establishment of local administrations, supported by the majority of the local community, to provide security, basic social services, and an environment conducive to private sector development, he urges international partners to ensure that their assistance is coordinated with the Government’s efforts and agreed international principles.
Towards long-term development, he encourages donors to support the unfunded balance of the Mogadishu Stabilization and Recovery Plan. The forthcoming “Istanbul II” Conference, to be hosted by the Government of Turkey on 31 May and 1 June, he says, offers an important opportunity for Somali and international partners to develop joint approaches to the rehabilitation of roads, energy and water supply, as well as to building community resilience, among other needs.
SHEIKH SHARIF SHEIKH AHMED, President of Somalia, said that the terrorist movements of Al-Shabaab and Al-Qaida took the opportunity provided by chaos and instability to launch a war against the Somali people, and to commit crimes and atrocities in the name of jihad. Nonetheless, the Government of Somalia had withstood the blows of those opponents and had succeeded in expelling them from most parts of the country. The return to normalcy, through the implementation of the policies included in the road map, was a priority; those elements included the development of a permanent Constitution and its ratification by clan leaders, intellectuals and Diaspora members, among others. The Constitution would remain under scrutiny and would be amended until the last moment before ratification, and it would continue to be responsive to the interests of the Somali people.
Other steps in the road map, he said, included national reconciliation and the introduction of good governance, as well as the restoration of security and stability in Somalia. Upon leaving New York, he would visit Addis Ababa to attend a meeting on the road map’s implementation. Somalia intended to pave the way for the selection of an inclusive national parliament, which could take responsibility for the development of legislation, including laws necessary for the country to choose its own President. Another goal was the reconciliation between the Somali Government and the northern region of the country, he added.
With those aims in mind, he drew the Council’s attention to the fact that Somalia was “on the threshold of a new phase”, and that it had come a long way in the road map’s implementation. He asked the international community to redouble its efforts to assist the country in completing the current phase as scheduled, so as not to provide any opportunity for the return of anarchy and terrorism. In that vein, Somalia needed to make further efforts to revive its institutions; he believed that the current phase was a suitable time to undertake such efforts. The next phase required the creation of an appropriate atmosphere, he emphasized, in which Somalia remained a stable, safe place, free of chaos and violence.
It was in that context that Somalia had several expectations of the Security Council, he said. First, it should support Somalia in strengthening the work of the Constituency Assembly assigned to ratify the new Constitution. It should encourage a reconciliation conference to preserve the country’s national unity, as well as to support a comprehensive peace in all its territories. It should support the country in taking a firm stand against those who created obstacles to the achievement of peace, as well as support the building of a Somali army capable of protecting its homeland’s independence and territorial integrity.
Further, he said, the Council should assist the country in strengthening its national security and allow the training of police forces and national intelligence. It should help Somalia to develop a comprehensive plan to address the terrorist movements that were multiplying their activities in the country. To those ends, it should allow the Somali Government to import the necessary weapons for its security services and lift the arms embargo imposed on it. The Council should also invite international bodies and organizations, as well as the public at large, to contribute to Somalia’s reconstruction and work to activate its economic institutions and services. It should continue to support AMISOM forces by increasing their number and military assets, provide financial support to local administrations in areas newly liberated from Al-Qaida, and support Somalia in presenting the current members of parliament their allowances and salaries.
AUGUSTINE MAHIGA, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), thanking President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed for the excellent working relations maintained in Mogadishu, said that the most critical stage in ending the transition by August 2012 was beginning. To that end, significant steps had been taken in the constitution-making process, with the draft constitution to be tabled before the principal signatories, pending its submission to a National Constituent Assembly for provisional adoption. A group of 135 traditional elders had been brought to Mogadishu to select the 825 Assembly Members, dissolve the current Parliament and proceed to select members of “a new, leaner Parliament” on merit-based criteria.
He said that, in addition to the constitutional process, the inclusion of areas newly recovered from Al-Shabaab insurgents under Government control was a top priority. Through the allied militias, supported by an expanded AMISOM and the engagement of Ethiopia, the insurgents were retreating swiftly. There were new challenges, however, as those were spilling over into the relatively stable regional states of Puntland and Somaliland and there was an increase in asymmetrical warfare behind AMISOM lines in Mogadishu and other recovered areas.
As Al-Shabaab retreated, therefore, the transitional Government must be assisted to establish local administrations, consolidate security through local security committees, and provide rule of law and basic services as part of the peace dividend, he said. In the interest of regional reconciliation, the transitional Government and Somaliland had appointed committees to consider Somalia’s future.
AMISOM, he reported, was now on a more secure and predictable financial footing, following the adoption of Council resolution 2036 (2012) and the generous contributions of donor States. At a meeting of the Joint Security Committee on 7 and 8 May in Mogadishu, more coordination of all allied Somali forces was agreed, along with the importance of a unified command and other security issues. With donors assisting the police force, the security sector also needed greater focus on developing the justice and corrections system to strengthen rule of law institutions. Resources were also needed for promotion of human rights, including protection of children, human rights defenders and journalists.
The humanitarian situation remained fragile, with the gains easily reversed without continued assistance, he said, noting with deep concern that the Appeal was still largely underfunded. In conflict areas, he reminded all factions to respect humanitarian principles and ensure access. On piracy, he reported on several conferences that were planned, or had recently taken place, in regard to maritime codes of conduct, deployment of arms on board commercial vessels and the development of a comprehensive strategy that was aimed at addressing the challenges on both land and sea. However, the fundamental issue of dealing with piracy remained the establishment of the rule of law in Somalia.
In efforts to complete the implementation of the road map to completion of the transition, he said the tight timelines and unavailability of resources remained major challenges. The lack of funding for implementation in the remaining three months was of serious concern. “The Constituent Assembly is almost grinding to a halt for lack of funding,” he said.
In addition, he stressed that the threat posed to the peace process by spoilers was real and must be dealt with. The spoilers felt that the end of the transition would jeopardize their privileged positions and, therefore, were obstructing it. UNPOS, AMISOM and IGAD had issued a warning on 1 May to all potential spoilers that non-compliance or obstruction of the road map would be followed by the naming and shaming of individuals, and possibly further measures and restrictions such as regional travel bans. The effectiveness of such measures would be enhanced if they were supported by the Security Council’s authority. Public education was being intensified before the end of the transition, as well.
In conclusion, he said “As Somalia faces the greatest opportunity to end the transition after so much investment by the international community and well-wishing Somalis, we must complete the tasks at hand. We must provide timely logistical and financial support to enable us to complete the implementation of the road map before August this year, as well as strengthen international cooperation and coordination.” For that reason, he welcomed the convening of the Istanbul Conference next month.
PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom) said that the number one priority must be the political process. Only three months remained until the start of the transition and, thus, the Constituent Assembly must be convened as soon as possible in a way that was transparent and open. The United Kingdom had provided £1 million to the United Nations for the Somali transition, as well as technical support staff, and called on other States to do likewise. His delegation welcomed the recent letter addressing potential spoilers, as well as the preparedness of the United Nations to take action against those who attempted to stand in the way of the transition process. However, he wished to stress that disagreement with the process was not, itself, a spoiler action; on the contrary, dissent should be taken into account without derailing the process in its entirety. The process should be made as transparent as possible, with the list of selected elders — and the methods of the Assembly — should be made public.
The Somali leaders, supported by UNPOS, must demonstrate movement towards the transition. Security and stability must be built across the country, he added, welcoming the efforts of the African Union and the region in that regard. More resources were needed for AMISOM, he said, calling on States to support the Trust Fund in that regard. He welcomed the African Union’s efforts to identify the immediate needs of the Somali security forces, adding that it was nonetheless important to maintain the embargo. Finally, he said, enhanced security was essential to returning Somalia to good governance, especially in key areas of the country.
SUSAN RICE ( United States) said that Somalia stood at a critical moment in its history. One year ago, in Nairobi, the Council had delivered the blunt message to the Transitional Federal Government that it would lose international support if it did not “get its act together”. Somalia was now in a better place, but challenges remained. The country, and the wider region, could not afford to revert to the cycles of violence that had plagued Somalia for decades. Listing several encouraging signs, she said, among other things, that a draft constitution had been circulated and that the security situation across the country had improved. While the humanitarian situation remained fragile, the famine had substantially abated. The adoption of Council resolution 2036 (2012) in February, followed by the London Conference on Somalia, demonstrated the international community’s commitment. But, the Kampala Accord deadline was firm and there could be no extension of the Transitional Federal Government’s mandate past 20 August.
Significant challenges still lay ahead, she continued, recalling several recent Al-Shabaab attacks on innocent civilians. The ongoing ban on humanitarian organizations demonstrated that group’s lack of regard for human life. The United States strongly condemned all such attacks, and felt AMISOM must be fully staffed to combat them. Somali national security forces would figure prominently in any expanded force strength, but they were hampered by underfunding. She urged States to help Somali forces take the lead in maintaining their country’s own security. The United States strongly supported the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, and believed, in that respect, that kidnapping for random must also end. In that context, law enforcement and other capacities must be strengthened.
The humanitarian situation in southern and central Somalia was still precarious, she said, with more than 2.5 million Somalis still in need of assistance. The United States had committed $1.1 billion since 2011 to the humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa; the international community must do more to reverse that crisis. There was a unique opportunity to assist Somalia in moving forward during the next four months, however, the onus remained on Somali leaders to seize that opportunity.
DOCTOR MASHABANE ( South Africa) welcomed the progress made in implementing the road map for ending the transition. He said it was important that the Constituent Assembly be representative of the population and that the process was transparent. He looked forward to the speedy completion of the processes involved. He noted with concern challenges in ending the transition, and called on all Somalis to put their differences aside and focus on the progress of the country. He supported measures against those who acted as spoilers in that effort. Stressing the need for Somali ownership of the process, he called on Somali leaders to act in a unified manner and on the international community to continue its support.
He stressed the need for providing security and administration in areas recovered from insurgents. He called on the international community to assist Somalia in that regard. Investment in the private sector and infrastructure, in addition, would ensure the country’s development. The upcoming Istanbul Conference was an opportunity in that effort. South Africa was committed to provide support in key sectors, and he urged all stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the coming period for progress in Somalia.
GÉRARD ARAUD ( France) said that many steps had been taken towards Somalia’s stability in recent months, both by Somalis and the international community. Unfortunately, three out of four transitional tasks had been set aside, and even the timelines in that area, such as for constitution-building, had not been met. A new impetus was needed with the formation of the Constituent Assembly, which must be inclusive. He stressed that the provisional text of the Constitution must respect human rights. Addressing spoilers, he said that they could no longer scheme with impunity, as the joint message had made clear on 1 May.
Noting considerable progress in security and paying tribute to AMISOM and Ethiopia in that regard, he commended the European Union’s support to AMISOM, calling for more support from others, as well. The training of Somali soldiers must be priority to ensure that security became sustainable. He noted international support for that effort, but said more was needed. Although the international community had to step up its assistance in some areas, progress in the next few months would be determined by the actions of Somali leaders in doing their duty and meeting the expectations of the Somali people. He welcomed the upcoming Conference in Istanbul to keep the focus on progress in the country.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that achieving the goals of stabilization and foundation-building in Somalia required more concerted action on the part of the international community. The country must take advantage of the present opportunity and move forward with the road map, he said, adding that, to do so, all parties should set aside personal interests and work to strengthen State authority. Providing international assistance must be linked to perceptible results. The Russian Federation regretted the loss of momentum in challenging extremist positions in several parts of the country. Additionally, the infiltration of weapons was a major challenge; the international community, therefore, needed to strengthen the arms embargo and cut off the flow of weapons from Libya and other countries.
Against the recent progress made, he said, the need for economic development now stood out “in bolder relief”. His delegation supported measures to broaden the action of United Nations bodies in Somalia. In spite of some decline in the number of successful attacks, the occurrence of piracy — one of the main destabilizing forces in the region — had not declined. A comprehensive counter-piracy strategy, which included the prosecution and international participation, was needed.
PETER WITTIG ( Germany) agreed that that was crucial to achieve the targets set out by the road map. “Another extension is not conceivable and would certainly not be in the interest of Somalia and its people,” he said in that regard. Great challenges remained, in particular, infighting in the Transitional Federal Parliament. The international community had always supported Somalia, however, the past 20 years had taught one lesson: “there is no solution to the conflict without strong political will among the Somali political class itself.” His delegation simply did not agree that it was international support that was lacking, and that language must not be used as an excuse for delays or failures in the transitional process. Future support depended on results achieved, he added, noting, “we cannot accept a call for more, when there is no considerable progress.”
He said that AMISOM had been essential for improvements of the security situation in Somalia, contributing, among other things, to the establishment of Somali security forces. It was now critical that the Transitional Federal Government finally managed to establish a functioning “command and control” structure. Responsibilities should be handed over to national forces and the administrations. Turning finally to piracy, he said that, in addition to the European Union’s counter-piracy engagement at sea, the Union would launch a mission in the field of maritime security to enhance the capabilities of the States in the region and to develop their legal frameworks.
KODJO MENAN ( Togo) said that the international community’s commitment to peace and security in Somalia had allowed the Transitional Federal Government and the allied forces to exert their authority outside of Mogadishu. Real progress had been made in terms of security, constitution writing, good governance and other areas. However, due to the lack of resources, as well as the crisis in the transitional intuitions, challenges remained, and it was necessary to take measures against spoilers of the peace process. Al-Shabaab continued to lose ground, and its recent defections were likely to further weaken the organization.
The hope being reborn in Somalia must not cause the international community to overlook the fact that it was up to the Somalis, most of all, to provide for the country’s security, he said. It was urgent, therefore, to achieve an independent security sector, which required strategic planning, training and the equipping of the military and police, among other elements. External partners should continue to support Somali states that did not have the means to do so to combat terrorism. Togo welcomed the decision of the Human Rights Council regarding the drafting of a report containing specific proposals to establish, throughout the United Nations system, an approach to defend human rights in Somalia.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) welcomed continued international support for Somalia, which he hoped would be built upon in Istanbul. He also welcomed progress towards completing the transition, although the situation remained fragile and reversible because of continuing threats from Al-Shabaab and the humanitarian consequences of the conflict. He condemned terrorist activity by that group, as well as piracy offshore. Efforts against those crimes must be strengthened, with capacity built in the country in those areas. In meeting all such efforts, reconciliation was required.
He called on all parties to intensify their efforts to meet all political tasks in the time required. Somalis must transcend their differences and put peace and national unity above their personal considerations and partisan differences. Somalia owed much to the United Nations and the international community for political and humanitarian support, but more solidarity was required. Gains made must be built upon. He expressed his country’s commitment to support Somalis in their quest for security, reconciliation and stability.
NÉSTOR OSORIO ( Colombia) said that the encouraging situation in Somalia was not free of risks, and, therefore, efforts must be stepped up to maintain the gains made thus far. Security remained unstable, with terrorist attacks and other insurgent activity. Measures should be imposed on internal and external actors who obstructed peace in Somalia. The implementation of the arms embargo must be strengthened, as well. Noting AMISOM’s greater capacity and geographical reach, he said further assistance was still required. Greater technical, financial and training resources were needed for the Somali national forces, as well.
He said that any sustainable solution to piracy should be part of a comprehensive solution to rule of law and stability in Somalia. The efforts of the Transitional Government to reach out to areas recovered from Al-Shabaab should be supported. In all areas, Somali leaders must renew their commitment to complete all their tasks by the August deadline. The upcoming Istanbul Conference would be important in strengthening the partnership with Somalia to meet future challenges.
JOSÉ FILIPE MORAESCABRAL ( Portugal) said that his delegation was worried about delays in implementing some of the key tasks of the road map, as well as about the long-lasting impasse in the Transitional Federal Parliament. It was crucial that the Somali authorities put into action the Garowe Principles, which provided a solid basis for the way forward, by establishing and adopting a new constitution, subjected to a referendum in due course. That document must be underpinned by respect for the human rights of women and minorities, and should create a framework for all Somalis to take part in public life. It was also critical to guarantee the accessibility and deliverance of basic services to the population, to support sustainable peace and development, and to build an effective Government and re-establish an independent judiciary.
Through the United Nations and the European Union, he said, Portugal would continue to support AMISOM. In that regard, he called on the new troop-contributing countries to fully integrate their forces into the AMISOM command and control structure, and called upon other donors to contribute to sustainable funding for that presence. The Somali authorities’ unbroken commitment to effective governance and security was essential to consolidating AMISOM’s gains on the ground, he said, calling further on the Transitional Federal Institutions to fully embrace the leadership of that process. Finally, with the Somalis remaining among the most significant refugee populations in the world, Portugal was worried about the impoverishment of the Somali population, which, along with conflict and drought, contributed to the daily growth of the number of refugees and to the Somali Diaspora. Portugal urged all parties to ensure full and unhindered access to humanitarian aid across the country.
GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) said given the encouraging signs and important and positive developments seen in recent years in Somalia, the coming months represented a possible turning point for the future of the country and for the entire Horn of Africa. He welcomed the efforts made so far, which had great potential to lead to a new phase in achieving stability and peace. On the implementation of the road map, Guatemala considered the conclusion of the drafting of the new constitution a priority, and its adoption a starting point for national reconciliation. The election of the Constituent Assembly and the new Parliament was also of great importance. It was essential to end the transitional period on 20 August, in line with the road map, and he reaffirmed the Garowe Principles, and agreed with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative that the transition should be Somali-led.
On the security strategy, he said the peace process largely depended on the successful expansion of the security strategy across Somalia. In that, AMISOM’s strategy coordination and expanded operations were already showing positive results. To ensure that the political process continued, he called for a redoubling of efforts to end terrorism, noting that despite AMISOM’s successful military operations, Al-Shabaab was still a threat, attacking innocent Somalis and others. Piracy off the Somali coast and the Guild of Aden still posed a serious threat to maritime safety and economic development in the region, and he reiterated that piracy was a consequence of the challenges facing Somalia on land. It was important, therefore, for the Security Council to support the country to address piracy’s underlying causes. On the humanitarian situation, Mr. Rosenthal was pleased that Somalia no longer suffered from famine, although the situation remained fragile. Finally, he commended the Government of Turkey and the Secretary-General for convening the next Conference in Istanbul at such a crucial moment for Somalia.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI ( India), acknowledging what he called significant progress in security, stressed the need to strengthen AMISOM, particularly in light of the continuing threat from Al-Shabaab in the form of terrorism and other violence. Commending troop-contributing countries for their commitments to AMISOM, he noted his country’s contribution to related trust funds. It was important to strictly implement the weapons and charcoal trade bans, which helped to fund the insurgent group, as that would expedite stabilization and reconciliation in the liberated areas.
He said that gains on the security front needed to be matched by progress on the political track. He hoped that inclusivity in the political process was encouraged by taking into consideration traditional social structures and accommodating existing regional authorities into the federal system. The international community should remain vigilant of forces that could undermine the process and it should remain engaged with Somali stakeholders and provide assistance in political, security and humanitarian spheres, as required by the post-transition Somali authorities. For that purpose, he welcomed the scheduled Istanbul Conference. He pledged that his country would continue to partner with all stakeholders for the stabilization of Somalia.
WANG MIN ( China) said that the Somali peace process was at a key stage, and he welcomed steady progress in implementing the elements of the road map. That process still faced many challenges, and the potential for new conflicts was emerging in the region. China believed that national reconciliation was the only way to ensure peace in Somalia; fully implementing the road map and ending the transitional process on time, as well as complying with relevant international accords, were critical in that respect. China also supported the Transitional Federal Government in further enhancing its capacity-building. Under the current circumstances, the international community should continue to support the efforts of the United Nations, the African Union and IGAD. The United Nations should continue to strengthen its support to AMISOM, he added, welcoming the progress made at the London Conference. China also looked forward to the results of the Istanbul Conference on Somalia, to be held later this month.
RAZA BASHIR TARAR ( Pakistan) said that “a new leaf is being turned in the history of Somalia.” Domestic political consensus among all Somali stakeholders was essential to usher in a new era, and each step in the challenging journey was invaluable, since progress towards constitutional development and State-building was fraught with a myriad of obstacles. He, therefore, sent a clear message of encouragement and solidarity to the Somali people and leadership. It was essential for all political stakeholders in the country to seize the present moment, to rise above their differences and work towards a broader agreement on pending issues of the road map. The unique opportunity presenting itself as unanimity on the “broad contour” of future governance, as well as the sustained engagement of the international community, must not be lost.
Political progress would remain fragile without corresponding gains in the security area, he said, welcoming, in that regard, the increased role of AMISOM in enhancing the effectiveness of the Somali forces. Recalling that the Secretary-General had highlighted, in his most recent report, that the scarcity of resources was undermining progress, he said he hoped that the issue of resources would merit the Council’s due attention. Pakistan supported a comprehensive approach to address maritime piracy off the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden; in that regard, it supported the addition of the maritime component to AMISOM, as well as actions of the international naval coalition against piracy.
AGSHIN MEHDIYEV ( Azerbaijan) welcomed the recent political and security progress in Somalia, which illustrated the transitional authorities’ commitment to implement the road map. Despite some delays, the road map was being implemented and there was a real opportunity to move the country to a new political phase. While Somalia was responsible for its own peace, stability, development and prosperity, continued international support for the political process was still crucial. He was encouraged by further consolidation of the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union to bring peace and stability to Somalia. The International Contact Group on Somalia and the London Conference highlighted the need for action against spoilers. It was crucial to continue all necessary efforts to effectively address the threats and challenges to the road map’s successful implementation, including through measures to support steps to combat the actions of actors that sought to undermine or block the peace process.
He expressed serious concern over the increasing number of non-conventional attacks by Al-Shabaab, as well as reports about its announced strengthened alliance with Al-Qaida and other militia groups in the country. As Somali forces and AMISOM made territorial gains, it was critical to continue helping them build capacity to effectively prevent asymmetric attacks and to improve civilian security. The end of the transition should encourage the international community to invest seriously in Somalia’s long-term recovery and development. The humanitarian situation also needed continued attention, and he stressed the need to redouble efforts to find long-term solutions for internally displaced persons.
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