New Somali Leaders, Institutions Need ‘Urgent’ Support as They Seek to Consolidate ‘Remarkable’ Achievements Born of Transition Process, Security Council Told

16 October 2012
SC/10792

New Somali Leaders, Institutions Need ‘Urgent’ Support as They Seek to Consolidate ‘Remarkable’ Achievements Born of Transition Process, Security Council Told

16 October 2012
Security Council
SC/10792
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6848th Meeting (AM)

New Somali Leaders, Institutions Need ‘Urgent’ Support As They Seek to Consolidate

‘Remarkable’ Achievements Born of Transition Process, Security Council Told

 

Briefing Council, Special Representative for Somalia Highlights Political,

Security Gains; Speakers Say ‘No Amount of Support Can Replace Somali Leadership’

With Somalia’s nine-year transition complete, upholding its “remarkable” progress, new President, leaner Parliament and calmer security landscape required, now more than ever, urgent and sustained support to ensure further successes following two decades of conflict, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General told the Security Council this morning via a video link from Mogadishu.

“The changes [in the country] have met the expectations of most Somalis and have raised higher expectations for more,” said Augustine Mahiga, who also heads the United Nations Political Office for Somalia.  Briefing the Council on recent developments in the Somali peace process, he highlighted last month’s presidential election — the first to be held inside Somalia in decades — and the liberation of extremist-held towns throughout the country.

He said that hope now hinged on consolidating the milestones reached along the transition Road Map towards peace and stability, including the new Parliament, containing a higher number of graduates, including women, than any previous such body in the country, and a “vastly improved” security situation marked by the weakening of extremist Al-Shabaab insurgents, particularly in the wake of the fall of Kismayo, seen as the group’s “last stronghold”, in late September.

The new Administration in Mogadishu must now “move with speed” to stabilize the newly liberated areas, he said, emphasizing that the Government’s immediate challenges encompassed establishing district administrations, justice and the rule of law and providing basic services to the people.  “The Somali authorities now urgently need assistance to meet the new challenges in the various sectors to help them own and lead the process in the post-transition period.”  Continued security funding was also needed for sustained initiatives and for training Somali national forces, who would eventually take over the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), he added.

Somalia’s representative, Elmi Ahmed Duale, agreed, saying that “now there is a light at the end of the tunnel”, with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s Six Pillar Policy that aimed to secure progress in the areas of stability, economic recovery, peacebuilding, service delivery, international relations and unity, laying the foundations of “a new beginning”.

“The road map has been completed,” he told the Council.  “It is now very clear that the new federal Government urgently needs tangible concerted, well-coordinated support from the Security Council, all United Nations bodies and the international community to enable and empower the new Government in implementing and achieving the end goals of the [President’s Policy].”

After the briefing, Council members took the floor, with many applauding the recent Somali successes and voicing concerns, among them the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country that had displaced more than 1 million people and left 2 million others without access to food or other basic necessities.

The United States’ representative, noting that the promising achievements had transformed what was once pervasive despair into cautious optimism, summed up the general sentiment.  “The completion of the transition was a real success, inspiring hope among Somalis for the first time in many years,” she said.  “Now is the time to consider how the world can support Somalia in its post-transition phase.”

Many speakers voiced their support for continued funding and for addressing the humanitarian crisis.  France’s representative emphasized that new gains must not come undone and new donors were needed to provide continued funding for critical initiatives.  Among those essential areas, South Africa’s representative pointed to strengthening institutions as a means to ensuring lasting peace.  Looking back on recent progress, he said Somalia’s achievements had shown what was possible on the continent through cooperation between international, regional and national efforts.  Yet he added that “no amount of support can replace Somali leadership”.

Portugal’s representative maintained that “the same degree of commitment, integrity and endurance we have witnessed throughout these months is now needed from the Somali authorities to respond to the demanding challenges this new chapter encompasses:  to have a secure and stable country, ready for elections under universal suffrage in four years’ time”. 

Also speaking this morning was the Minister of State for External Affairs of India.

The Council was also addressed by representatives of the United Kingdom, Togo, Morocco, Colombia, Russian Federation, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Germany, China, Guatemala, Japan, Turkey, Italy, Finland, Spain and Ethiopia.

The head of the Delegation of the European Union also delivered a statement.

The meeting began at 10:20 a.m. and ended at 1:07 p.m.

Background

The Security Council had before it a letter dated 12 October 2012 from the Secretary-General addressed to its President (document S/2012/764) that contained the fourth and final report of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on implementation of the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).  The report outlines developments since August 2012, assesses the progress made since the last reporting period in August 2012 and requests Council support.

The political and military landscape has witnessed a turnaround in the two-decade-long conflict; never have the Somalis been so close to realizing their aspiration to peace, security and reconciliation, the report states.  While a lot has been achieved, the tasks ahead will be even more demanding, and the report urges the international community to extend full support to the Somali authorities to enable them to meet the even more demanding and complex tasks ahead.

Highlights of the main political developments include the traditional elders’ nomination of the Members of Parliament to form a new Federal Parliament, which proceeded to elect its presiding officers and a new President for the country through a free, fair and credible election.  President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s inauguration speech outlined his immediate priorities, which revolved around security improvement, national reconciliation, social service delivery, economic development and justice.

Focusing on the security situation, the report notes that Al-Shabaab has been severely weakened and that progress was made by the Somali National Forces in securing towns in several regions.  The report also states that in order to more effectively respond to the changing political situation and to support the Federal Government in meeting the needs of the population, the African Union, working together with the United Nations, intends to undertake a thorough assessment of AMISOM and how best it can contribute to the stabilization of Somalia, in the light of the gains made on the ground and the challenges ahead.

This process is expected to start in the next few weeks and be concluded in the coming months, taking into account the results of the strategic review currently being conducted by the United Nations in relation to Somalia for the period 2012-2016, and the planned assessment will address funding issues.  The outcome of the exercise will be submitted to the African Union Peace and Security Council and subsequently to the Security Council.

Emphasizing urgent needs, the report requests the Security Council to authorize a technical rollover of the current support package for four additional months, until February 2013, to take into account pressing issues on the ground, including further enhancing the AMISOM civilian component and bolstering the operation’s maritime component, the latter to prevent Al-Shabaab from benefiting from illegal maritime trade or piracy.

The report also provides updates on the deployment of the African Union Mission, support to stabilization and government in liberated areas, the management of disengaged combatants and support to the Somali National Forces.  The situation regarding the protection of civilians, humanitarian and community support and the engagement of Somali civil society, media and the diaspora are also updated in the report.

Briefing

Briefing the Council by video link from Mogadishu, AUGUSTINE MAHIGA, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), said the changes outlined in the report were remarkable.

“The changes met the expectations of most Somalis and had raised higher expectations for more change,” he said.  The new Parliament was leaner, with a higher number of graduates, including women, than any previous such body in the country, and the security situation had “vastly improved”, marked by the weakening of extremist Al-Shabaab insurgents, particularly following the fall in late December of Kismayo, their last stronghold.

Although Al-Shabaab had now dispersed into a “rag-tag” militia, he said the group’s tactics were changing to hit and run tactics, as occasionally witnessed in Mogadishu.  These were tactics which AMISOM and the Somali forces must be equipped to deal with, as they controlled more territory and their supply lines were extended.  Another worrying trend was ongoing civilian assassination and piracy in the coastal areas, requiring a strengthening of the Somali security forces and an enhanced maritime presence, he said, referring to the report’s request for Council support in those areas.  Other areas requiring further support included the country’s agendas for women and child protection, he said. 

On the humanitarian situation, violence against girls and women was still widespread, and more than 2 million Somalis were in dire need of food and assistance, he said, urging partners to sustain aid to prevent the country from sliding back from the great progress it had made.  He also urged all armed parties to grant access to humanitarian actors.

“The new Administration in Mogadishu must now move with speed to lead in the stabilization of the newly liberated areas,” he said.  The immediate challenge for the Government included establishing district administrations and justice and rule of law institutions, as well as providing basic services to the people, he said.  However, he lamented that the funds to do so were lacking, and he noted that those tasks needed support, and civilian organizations needed to be ready to establish themselves after the military forces had stabilized areas. 

“The Somali authorities now urgently need assistance to meet the new challenges in the various sectors to help them own and lead the process in the post-transition period,” he said.

PRENEET KAUR, Minister of State for External Affairs of India, said that the remarkable progress achieved in Somalia the past year had “created a historic opportunity that must be seized for the full restoration of peace and stability in Somalia after a two-decade long conflict”.  Noting the important role played by the international community, including the African Union and the United Nations, she commended all those who contributed to the “impressive achievements” of AMISOM in particular.  To consolidate the gains made, the new Government must embark upon building effective State institutions that could pursue national reconciliation, provide rule of law, revitalize economic activities and restructure and strengthen the security forces.  As it was also necessary to expeditiously complete the remaining tasks of the Road Map, she welcomed the six-point framework set out by Somalia’s President and called for international support for its implementation.

Noting the threat Al-Shabaab still posed, she supported the request made by the African Union for a four-month technical rollover of AMISOM, continuing the current support package and the expansion of the logistical support package to cover the deployment of additional civilian personnel and including naval assets for reimbursement.  Describing the impact of piracy for India, including threats to its shipping and the holding of 43 nationals by the criminals, she hoped that full assistance would be provided by the international community to the new Somali Government to counter the scourge.  She also described India’s ties with Somalia and its contributions to peacekeeping there, through the United Nations Operation in Somalia II and AMISOM, and its aid to capacity-building, education of students and technology transfer.  She assured the new Government of her country’s continued support for common endeavours to put Somalia back on the path of peace, stability and prosperity.

PHILIP PARHAM (United Kingdom) congratulated the people of Somalia on the peaceful transition to a new Government.  Further progress must continue to be Somalia-owned and led, supported by the international community.  He said new financial mechanisms would assist that process, and the upcoming reviews should help those mechanisms be shaped in an effective manner.  Believing that the international community must support the priorities that the new President set out, the United Kingdom had announced additional funding and — as a sign of renewed commitment — hoped to open an embassy in Mogadishu soon, if conditions permitted.  Commending security forces in Somalia, including national forces and AMISOM, he urged the international community to do everything possible to support national and international efforts in that area and to continue to support the national Government in all its efforts toward peace and prosperity.

KODJO MENAN (Togo), welcoming progress in Somalia, said that the country had opened a new page in its history and he hoped all its institutions would be up and running quickly.  International support, including the sacrifices of AMISOM, had been essential in that progress.  As Al-Shabaab was still a source of fear, it was urgent to provide increased support to new Somali institutions to consolidate progress to face the many challenges ahead, including reconciliation efforts.  Transparency in managing resources was essential, as was inclusivity, openness to women’s participation, and reconstruction after 20 years of civil war.  Piracy remained a concern and the new authorities must adopt a comprehensive approach to international security supported by the international community.  He commended the European Union, UNPOS and Somalia’s many other partners, and called for international support to continue.

SUSAN RICE ( United States) said pervasive despair in Somalia had turned to cautious optimism.  As a result, a shared commitment must be renewed to ensure that progress continued, she said, highlighting the recent promising and remarkable developments, including the election of a President.  She welcomed President Mohamud’s vision and hoped the Prime Minister would work closely with him, as Somalia’s long-term stability demanded it.  The new Somali leadership must, among other things, take urgent steps to tackle corruption, she added.  On the security front, she applauded the Somali forces for making great strides in improving conditions.  Yet despite military successes and improvements, Al-Shabaab remained a threat.

Sharp focus needed to be maintained and AMISOM needed to be supported in order to further root out that group, she said, suggesting that new donors could commit to supporting the national security forces in their efforts.  “Now is the time to consider how the world can support Somalia in its post-transition phase,” she said, noting that sustainable security depended on stable governance, which included providing basic services.  In that vein, the humanitarian crisis inside and around Somalia had displaced more than 1 million people and had left 2 million in need of food and other aid, and she urged all Member States to support the Consolidated Appeal for Somalia to ensure a coherent, effective and efficient response.  “The completion of the transition was a real success inspiring hope among Somalis for the first time in many years,” she said, reiterating the United States strong support for AMISOM and for the people of Somalia to ensure the next phase of development.

MOHAMMED LOULICHKI (Morocco) said significant gains in Somalia were a direct result of the Somali people’s efforts to ensure stability in the country.  He hoped the establishment of the post-transition Government would be the first step in building the institutions needed to serve the people.  He supported the Government’s vision and plans, for, among other things, preserving the unity and integrity of the country.  Security, defeating terrorism, extending State authority throughout the territory and addressing issues related to returning displaced persons were among the areas that were key to ensuring further achievements.  He encouraged providing the support Somalia needed to meet the many reconstruction and development challenges ahead.

BASO SANGQU (South Africa) commended stakeholders on the achievements in Somalia, which showed the progress that could be achieved on the continent through cooperation between international, regional and national efforts.  Continued international support for the peace process, security, and development was needed, but no amount of support could replace Somali leadership.  He highlighted the need, therefore, to strengthen Somali institutions.  It was imperative as well for Government structures to be extended to allow national governance in all areas.  In addition, a reintegration policy for ex-combatants must be put in place.  Recent incidents in Mogadishu demonstrated that security gains must be consolidated.  Outreach to armed groups must be strengthened for the purposes of reconciliation, on which his country offered to share its experiences. 

Paying tribute to the sacrifices of AMISOM and neighbouring countries and calling for continued international support to the Mission, he urged that such support be extended to the mission’s maritime and civilian components.  The increased stability in Somalia, he said, would allow the strengthening of efforts to fight piracy.  He pledged his country’s cooperation in that area, and looked forward to the results of the various reviews in order to develop coordinated responses to the challenges ahead.

JOÃO MARIA CABRAL (Portugal), noting “major political and security developments” in Somalia, commended Somali stakeholders and paid tribute to the sacrifices made by the men and women serving AMISOM.  “The same degree of commitment, integrity and endurance we have witnessed throughout these months is now needed from the Somali authorities to respond to the demanding challenges this new chapter encompasses:  to have a secure and stable country, ready for elections under universal suffrage in four years’ time.”  In that light, he welcomed the priorities announced by the new President and stressed that they should translate into the finalization of the pending elements of the provisional constitution and into reform of the security sector, representative administrations throughout the country, basic service delivery to the population, stimulation of business and a comprehensive strategy to fight piracy. 

In addition, he said, the priorities should translate into good governance, rule of law, transparency and accountability, as well as respect for fundamental rights and freedoms and full participation of women in the peace process.  Due to the complexity of the tasks ahead, now was the moment for the international community to renew its commitment to Somalia as well as to strengthened coordination among all actors.  He looked forward to the results of reassessments in process for that purpose, and urged all parties to give due consideration to the need to improve the predictability of AMISOM funding.  Portugal, he pledged, would continue to play an active role on many levels, especially through the European Union.  In that context, he shared the position of the European Union stated by its delegation today.

NÉSTOR OSORIO (Colombia), welcoming progress in Somalia, said that it must be consolidated so the country could proceed to economic development.  International support should be led by a consolidated strategy, in line with national priorities and consistent with the future United Nations presence in the country and the work of all partners.  The expansion of national control was impressive, but Al-Shabaab terrorism continued to present a threat and AMISOM remained essential.  As the broadened capacity of the Mission hinged on resources available to it, the entirety of support measures should be renewed and consideration must be given to expansions needed for that support. 

Efforts to reform and restructure national forces, he said, must continue through a process that fostered a clear command and control structure.  National plans for security and stabilization required international support.  Due consideration of the immediate needs of ex-combatants, as the beginning of a reintegration programme, must also be given.  Enumerating the challenges ahead, he said that the end of the transition was not the end of the peace process.  Capacity-building of national institutions was critical.  The United Nations should also provide technical assistance in demarcation of maritime areas consistent with international law, allowing it to enforce sovereignty over its maritime resources and helping to provide sources of income for the people on the coast.

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said progress in Somalia had succeeded in laying the basis for the country’s development.  To maintain the peace process’ momentum, domestic political will and resources needed to be mobilized.  The pressing task of quelling Al-Shabaab required constant attention to ensure continued stability, especially given that the group had considerable firepower and were shifting their tactics.  To meet the task, holds on areas outside Mogadishu needed to be weakened and support for the African Union and AMISOM needed to be sustained. 

Crime was a concern, including the continued penetration of illegal weapons into the country and financial support to Al-Shabaab.  However, he noted that there was a downturn in piracy, which was a direct result of a well-coordinated initiative on the part of the international community.  Still, hostage-taking was a new source of criminal income that had been used to finance pirating attempts, and he anticipated that an immediate step by the Government would be adopting national anti-piracy legislation.  On the humanitarian situation, he lamented that problems had been compounded by recent flooding, and stressed that the Russian Federation would continue to provide humanitarian assistance.

MASOOD KHAN (Pakistan), welcoming Somalia’s progress over the last few “critical months”, said that given the courage and resilience of Somalia’s people, that progress was no surprise.  The new political dispensation reflected their aspirations, and Somalia was on the cusp of a new chapter in its history.  AMISOM and Somali security forces had enabled pro-Government forces to gain control over all major Somali cities.  Pakistan supported the addition of the maritime component to AMISOM for prevention of piracy.  Further, he said that to end that scourge, it was necessary to address its root causes, particularly illegal fishing and dumping of toxic wastes in Somali waters.

The international community must ensure political and financial support for the Mission, he added, in order to secure the gains made so far, and prevent a possible relapse of conflict.  AMISOM operations were a good example of successful cooperation between a regional organization and the United Nations.  Commending Africa for its “collective and consensual response to security challenges”, he endorsed the African Union’s request to extend the support package to AMISOM.

Further, as the Secretary-General reviewed the future presence of the United Nations in Somalia, three considerations were paramount:  the need for national ownership; an interface between the Secretary-General’s review process and the initiatives of the African Union; and the importance of safeguarding territorial integrity and federalism in Somalia.  Pakistan would continue to support Somalia bilaterally as well as in its capacity as a member of the Security Council.

GÉRARD ARAUD (France) said Somalia had reached a number of milestones, and there were new hopes that the Somali people would build their new State.  Gains must not come undone, he cautioned, and said that providing security required ongoing training and a clear political strategy.  After a 20-year vacuum of political power, there was a need for new institutions that represented the country.  He hoped the United Nations would speed up deployment in Mogadishu and examine, with the African Union and Somali authorities, the security situation in some regions.  Despite recent gains, the presence of AMISOM and the African Union was still needed.

He shared the African Union’s view that it was necessary to find lasting financing for the mission.  Current limited resources for troops should be complemented by new donors to fully finance AMISOM forces in the coming year.  Training Somali security forces was the only way the Government could establish lasting control over its territory, he said.  Among continued sources of concern were the recruitment of child soldiers, the killing of reporters and the need for food and aid for the 2 million Somalis who lacked access to humanitarian assistance.

AGSHIN MEHDIYEV (Azerbaijan), congratulating the Somali Government on the peaceful end to the transition, said that it was a historic moment for the country and an important step towards peace, democracy, stability and prosperity.  Meanwhile, it was important that international support be aligned with President Mohamud’s intention to ensure inclusive, broad-based governing institutions.  The spirit of unity must be preserved as a guiding principle for all Somali and international actors working towards peace and development in the country.  Progress had been possible due to improvements in the security situation, thanks to the great sacrifices made by AMISOM troop-contributing countries and Somali national security forces.

“The international community must remain strongly committed to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia,” he said.  It was crucial to address threats posed by terrorists and armed opposition groups, particularly Al-Shabaab.  People in areas recovered from Al-Shabaab should quickly see the difference between life under insurgents and under the new Government.  That could be achieved through, among other means, efforts by national authorities to consolidate security in liberated areas, establish good governance and the rule of law and the speedy delivery of services, with the support of the international community.  Efforts would also be needed to combat piracy, armed robbery and hostage-taking off the Somali coast and to enable unhindered humanitarian access to people in need.

PETER WITTIG (Germany), welcoming the peaceful and successful conclusion of the transition in Somalia, said the country now must now focus on further stabilization, reconciliation and building of accountable institutions based on respect for human rights.  There also must be a peace dividend after so many years of destruction.  In that light, the announced national priorities of security and peacebuilding were appropriate.  Germany would continue to play its part in supporting the achievement of those priorities through the European Union and the United Nations. 

Reiterating appreciation for AMISOM, he said that the Mission deserved predictable financing.  Somali forces must also be strengthened, he added, noting the extensive efforts of the European Union in training those forces.  Development was foremost the task of the Somalis themselves, but the international community should stand by it for support in that area as well, through a sound and coherent strategy that included a clear division of labour.  He assured Somalia of Germany’s continued commitment to such efforts.

LI BAODONG (China), welcoming recent achievements in Somalia, commended all those that contributed to the successes of the transition.  He said that lasting peace, however, would still require much work, and Somalis should continue to take forward the political process and reconciliation efforts, with an emphasis on dialogue and consultations.  National authority must be extended throughout the national territory, and security must be further consolidated. 

Supporting AMISOM’s continued role in that area, he called for continued international support for the Mission and for national security forces.  In development as well he called on the donor community to deliver on its commitments, and he looked forward to the results of the United Nations strategic review.  He also looked forward to upcoming strategies to assist the country in a coordinated way on the basis of respect for the country’s sovereignty.

Council President GERT ROSENTHAL (Guatemala), speaking in his national capacity, celebrated what he called the recent “landmark achievements” in Somalia and welcomed the new President and the nomination of the Vice-President, expecting the new authorities to establish as soon as possible an inclusive, transparent and accountable Government.  Further, a Cabinet should be completed and should include equitable gender representation.  The international community should continue its support and must stress that the end of the transition was not the end of the peace process, while recognizing Somali ownership of the national agenda.  He expected the reviews under way to strengthen coordination of international efforts in support of that agenda.

Paying tribute to the achievements of AMISOM, he supported the renewal of its mandate and the African Union’s recommendations for the rollover.  The upcoming assessment must take into account the recent northward movement of Al-Shabaab, security in the liberated areas and strengthening of national forces.  He called on all countries in a position to do so to generously contribute to providing AMISOM with the resources it needed.  In consolidating national sovereignty over liberated areas, reform of the Somali national forces was of utmost importance, but the reintegration of ex-combatants must also be considered.  Further, the protection of civilians and delivery of unhindered humanitarian assistance must continue to be top priorities.

ELMI AHMED DUALE ( Somalia) said that after much hard work, “there is a light at the end of the tunnel”.  Outlining President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s Six Pillar Policy, he said the goals of stability, economic recovery, peacebuilding, service delivery, international relations and unity were the foundations of a new beginning.  “The road map has been completed,” he said, telling the Council that following successful presidential elections and the swearing in of a new Prime Minister, on 6 October, a new Cabinet had been formed, which that official had vowed “will be small but competent and which will not tolerate corruption.”

“It is now very clear that the new federal Government urgently needs tangible concerted, well-coordinated support from the Security Council, all United Nations bodies and the international community to enable and empower the new Government in implementing and achieving the end goals of the Six Pillar Policy,” he said, adding that:  “All Somali’s striving together will yield a better future.”  

As for the security situation, he said that Somali forces, “valiantly supported” by AMISOM and Ethiopian troops, had succeeded in liberating significant territory from Al-Shabaab. At the same time, those extremists still retained the ability to strike, and it was therefore all the more necessary to maintain pursuit and “flush them out from all corners of Somalia”.  With that in mind, he said funding was needed for AMISOM and training needed for Somali national forces.

TSUNEO NISHIDA ( Japan) said that after more than 20 years of devastation and eight years of transition, the concerted efforts by the Somali Transitional Federal Government, the African Union, the United Nations, the Security Council and other partners had contributed to the advancement of peace and security in Somalia.  He commended the Somali people for their progress during the transitional period, noting that they had overcome major challenges.  Now they must enter the next phase of new political dispensation, stabilization and peacebuilding.  He welcomed the Six Pillar Policy introduced by President Mohamud at his inaugural speech and his appointment of Abdi Farah Shirdon as Prime Minister.  But progress needed to be consolidated, and security remained key, he added.

He said piracy in Somalia remained an important item on the agenda in terms of stability, although the number of attacks had decreased, and Japan was proud to have aided in ensuring maritime security.  As Somalia entered a new phase for peacebuilding, a new road map was needed for the reconstruction of the country.  He appreciated the Secretary General’s initiative to hold a mini-summit on Somalia to discuss future dispensation and modalities for peacebuilding.  Peace, security and development processes in Africa would be the top-priority on Japan’s agenda under the Tokyo International Conference on African Development.  The fifth Conference next June would discuss current and future challenges facing Africa, including peacebuilding in Somalia.  Japan was committed to the security, stability and prosperity of Somalia, and encouraged its progress towards peace.

THOMAS MAYR-HARTING, Head of the European Union delegation, said that the new federal institutions in Somalia should now embark on stabilization and reconciliation efforts throughout the country, including in those areas recovered from Al-Shabaab.  The people of Somalia should be assured good governance, transparency and accountability, justice, respect of their rights and fundamental freedoms and economic development.  The new institutions should reach out to Somalis of all walks of life and act in their interests; they should also finalize key pending elements of the provisional constitution.

Even as the international community remained strongly committed to providing support to the Somalia people, it must respect Somali ownership, carefully structuring and aligning collective actions into a truly comprehensive approach.  That required increased coordination both among donor countries and among other international actors.  “We must avoid duplication and fragmentation of our support,” he said, adding that the European Union was ready to play an active role in that regard, and looked forward to the results of the United Nations strategic review of its presence in Somalia.

“Such a comprehensive approach would have to deliver the support at the right place and at the right time,” he went on to say, noting that, in line with the President of Somalia’s initial vision, that meant focusing on an accelerated and intensified approach to security sector reform; a comprehensive approach to the elimination of piracy; immediate support to build the capacities of the institutions and improve their transparency and accountability; and the rapid delivery of services to regions no longer under Al-Shabaab control.

“The new Somali Parliament was able to vote for change because of a new sense of security made possible by AMISOM,” he stressed, noting that the European Union had been one of the main funders of the operation since its deployment.  The total support to AMISOM by the European Union since 2007 amounted to some 412 million euros, he noted, calling for more predictable and sustainable finding to that operation in line with the demands of successive Security Council resolutions.  In addition, he said, the planned assessment of the African Union and the United Nations on the future of international support to Somalia should take that issue into account.

ERTUĞRUL APAKAN (Turkey) welcoming Somalia’s entry into a new era, said that the efforts ahead should be systematized into a new programme based on priorities expressed by the new President.  Acknowledging the sacrifice made by contributors to AMISOM, he said that rebuilding Somalia’s security sector was critical to future stability, which was, in turn, essential for future prosperity.  In that light, he noted his country’s support for training the national forces, in coordination with the international community. 

Maintaining that the United Nations was the most important actor in that sphere, political support and other areas, he welcomed the review process, which he hoped would lead to fully integrated support.  He pledged his country’s commitment to that process.  The physical presence on the ground of the international community was also critical and he stressed the importance of opening diplomatic facilities in Mogadishu.

CESARE MARIA RAGAGLINI (Italy), aligning himself with the statement made by the Delegation of the European Union, welcomed Somali achievements and stressed that the challenges ahead would be primarily Somali challenges, with reconstruction requiring a far-sighted vision and a commitment to work for the benefit of the country, with full respect for the principles of transparency and accountability, democracy and human rights.  In that light, he welcomed the six-pillar policy launched by the new President.  Reconstruction and stabilization must be guideposts, with due attention paid to the development of the institutional and legal framework of democracy.  He pledged his country’s support in the full implementation of the new Constitution. 

People’s needs, he stressed, must be at the top of the agenda, through a civic strategy based on providing services and creating job opportunities.  Noting Italy’s support to strengthening AMISOM and Somali national forces, he hoped other partners would join in.  On governance, he stressed the importance of an effective federal State, while emphasizing also the importance of unity.  In all areas, renewed international commitments must make accomplishments durable and sustainable, through coordinated efforts, under Somali ownership, in which the United Nations was central.

JARMO VIINANEN (Finland), aligning himself with the statement of the European Union, congratulated Somalia on the “historical steps” taken in recent months and assured support to the new federal institutions and political actors, as well as the goal of paving the way to general elections and a functioning multiparty system.  Stressing the importance of Somali ownership in all efforts, he added that the new institutions needed much help in providing basic services, through coordinated efforts at all levels, which the results of the review of the United Nations presence should help to reinforce. 

He also underlined the importance of an inclusive process of peace and reconciliation, including the participation of youth, women, elders and religious leaders.  Good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law should be the basis of the Government, and improvement of security should go hand in hand with support to the justice sector.  He encouraged further funding of AMISOM and pledged continued support to anti-piracy efforts.  Finland was actively supporting participation of the Somali Diaspora in the country’s development.  He affirmed his country’s continued support for Somalia’s future, “in this new era”.

FERNANDO ARIAS (Spain), fully supporting the European Union statement, underlined his country’s continuing commitment to Somalia, welcoming the progress made in recent months and expressing trust in the new Government to deal with ongoing challenges, including the extension of State authority, provision of services and fostering development.  He noted Spain’s support to the transition in the political sphere.   Spain also had provided support in the security sphere, for which it had made significant contributions to fighting piracy and strengthening AMISOM through training and funding; and development, for which Spain had funded humanitarian and socio-economic projects.  He reiterated Spain’s firm commitment to continue playing an active role in providing Somalia all the support it needed to deal with the important challenges ahead.

TEKEDA ALEMU (Ethiopia), speaking in his capacity as the current Chair of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), said that the progress in Somalia demonstrated the effectiveness of national efforts combined with coordinated regional, continental and global efforts.  He noted that Ethiopia had done its best to provide tangible support to AMISOM and Somali forces in efforts that had decisively weakened Al-Shabaab.  The international community should be commended, in that light, for its support for AMISOM.  At the end of the day, however, it was the people and leaders of Somalia who mattered most in achieving lasting peace and reconciliation in the country, and he trusted that the new leadership would strengthen its credibility by making a difference in the lives of the people.

Somalia needed help in the form of genuine solidarity that did not infringe on national ownership.  International support for the stability and development of the country was critical as it would affect the entire region’s stability.  IGAD would continue to work along with the African Union, the United Nations and other partners in that context.  A coordinated approach of all partners was critical.  He supported the assessment of United Nations efforts in that light.  He also supported the technical rollover of the support package to AMISOM with the inclusion of additional support to the civilian and maritime components of the Mission, and he reiterated support to the Union’s call for the Peacebuilding Commission to contribute actively to post-conflict progress. 

Condemning recent terrorist acts by Al-Shabaab, he maintained, however, that:  “Al-Shabaab is retreating and unlikely to regain strength if the regional and international effort to marginalize the hardcore elements of the terrorist group is pursued in a principled manner and in line with what is called for by international law and the relevant Security Council resolutions.”

At the end of the meeting, Mr. MAHIGA thanked all speakers for their kind words, and also thanked the Council for its support to Somalia.  He hoped that the strategic review would advance the framework of international assistance for the benefit of all stakeholders.

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