During its recent visiting mission to the Horn of Africa, Council members reaffirmed the Security Council’s support for the ongoing political process in Somalia and met with top officials to address the region’s security and humanitarian challenges, co-leaders of the mission told the 15-member body in their briefing this morning.
Matthew Rycroft (United Kingdom), describing the Somalia leg of the mission, said the visit had been a chance for the Security Council to reaffirm its commitment to continue to stand with the Somali people on their journey to stability and prosperity. The visit had come at a critical time, as 2016 was halfway between 2012 — when the current political process had been launched — and 2020, when “one person one vote” general elections were slated to be held.
However, he said, when the visiting mission had arrived in Mogadishu last week the political process had been in a deadlock. The Parliament had not been able to endorse the electoral model, which was delaying the process. The Council delegation then met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to urge the swift adoption of the electoral model. Just days later, President Mahmud issued a presidential decree to ensure that there was no extension to the terms of Somalia’s executive and legislative bodies.
On security issues, Mr. Rycroft said that the Council delegation had met with the Somali Deputy Prime Minister, the head of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and other key officials, who had outlined the scale of the challenges ahead. “Security remains a very significant concern for Somalia,” he said, stressing the need to continue to work with AMISOM, the national army and the police to maintain stability. Among other things, he had been struck by the scale of what remained to be done to create a genuinely effective set of security forces.
In a broader context, he noted that the Council delegation had been able to speak with United Nations personnel and other actors in the region to examine Somalia’s humanitarian situation and its situation vis-à-vis sustainable development. Key elements of those discussions had been the long-term consequences of conflict along with its root causes.
Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta (Egypt), Council President, speaking as co-lead of the Council’s mission, said the visit had allowed the Council to achieve three main objectives: reiterate its support for national efforts to complete the political process in Somalia; provide support for more coordination in the face of the challenges relating to Somali refugees; and meet with the Arab League Council in Cairo.
Noting that the visit to Somalia had sent a “well-timed message” that the Council would not be complacent with regard to any obstructions of the peace process, he went on to describe the meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya. Among other things, discussions included the financing of the salary of AMISOM members and issues relating to challenges in dealing with refugees, in particular the need for more international support for receiving countries.
The Council delegation had also met with various high-level officials to review AMISOM’s logistics, including the need for more helicopters and equipment, and had discussed requests to strengthen the Mission, adjust its mandate and improve its financing. Also discussed were efforts to address Somalia’s humanitarian crisis and the challenges of increased recruitment of children by Al-Shabaab. The Council delegation had noted, among other things, the non-availability of clear information on terrorist activities inside the region’s refugee camps.
In Cairo, the Council delegation had met with the Council of Ministers of the League of Arab States, taking up issues including the Middle East peace process, Somalia and Libya. Discussions had underscored the consensus on the need to better coordinate support for Libya’s political process — which would allow the country to better fight Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/Da’esh) militants and achieve stability — and the need to build Libyan State institutions and to win the confidence of the Libyan people. Also raised had been the need to protect the rights of refugees and combat xenophobia and Islamophobia.
The meeting began at 10:26 a.m. and ended at 10:47 a.m.