|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
7078th Meeting (AM)
People of Somalia ‘Desperate’ to Build Strong State Institutions after 22 Years
Of Conflict, Special Representative Tells Security Council
Crises of Last Three Months Not as Bad
As Predicted, ‘We Are All in the Business of Silver Linings’, He Says
After 22 years of conflict, the people of Somalia were not only ready, but desperate to rise to the challenge of building strong State institutions, the senior United Nations official in that country said in a briefing to the Security Council today.
Speaking via video teleconference from Mogadishu, Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), said that, on the military and security fronts, the hard work of implementing resolution 2124 (2013) was under way. Commending the Council’s decision to reinforce the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), he also welcomed the “open and consultative way” in which the regional organization was generating additional forces, revising AMISOM’s strategy and drawing up a new Concept of Operations for military and police forces.
Preparations were under way to restart major offensive operations in territory controlled by Al-Shabaab, he said, noting, however, that the lack of military helicopters remained a major concern. He recalled that, during his last briefing to the Council in September, he had warned that, if Somalia remained a stronghold of terrorists, the impact would be felt “from Bamako to Bangui” and beyond. The tragic events at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi later that month were a shocking demonstration of that.
Pointing out the immense political challenges ahead, he emphasized the importance of wide-ranging national and local reconciliation, the need to redraw Somalia’s political map of 18 regions into a lesser number of federal states, to finalize a new and permanent constitution, and to hold democratic elections in 2016, for the first time in nearly 50 years. Federalism was under way, but must be accelerated, he said, stressing that it was also crucial not to lose momentum in the Jubbaland Process, as decided in the 28 August Addis Ababa Agreement.
Two recent crises in Mogadishu posed serious challenges to State-building and international donor confidence, but they also gave cause for optimism, he said, noting that the first involved the parliamentary vote that had led to the Prime Minister’s removal. In years gone by, such political disagreement would be resolved by fighting, he recalled, but in today’s Somalia, debating and voting had settled the matter. The second crisis, the resignation of the Central Bank Governor, called attention to the need for robust public financial management, he said, pointing out, however, that the President had responded “rapidly and consultatively” to that challenge.
Turning to other internal issues, he said formal relations between the autonomous Puntland State of Somlia and the federal Government remained suspended, even as the former continued with preparations for upcoming indirect presidential elections in January 2014. In Somaliland, differences had developed between the governing authorities and the opposition. Furthermore, Somalia was dealing with humanitarian emergencies, such as the 10 November tropical storm and flooding from seasonal rains. However, none of the crises of the last three months had turned out to be as bad as predicted, he said, adding that even the horrific Westgate attack had galvanized international support. “We are all in the business of silver linings.”
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 10:30 a.m.
* *** *For information media • not an official record