|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
6158th Meeting (AM)
Security Council condemns renewed insurgent attacks against government
of Somalia, deplores deteriorating humanitarian situation
Presidential Statement: Action against Backers of Militants under Consideration
Condemning the renewed attacks against Somalia’s fledgling unity Government and war-weary civilian population by Al Shabaab and other violent opposition groups, the Security Council today demanded an immediate end to that offensive, saying it would promptly consider what action to take against Eritrea and others providing support to armed groups and foreign fighters undermining the peace and reconciliation process in the strife-torn Horn of Africa country.
In a statement (document S/PRST/2009/19) read out by Ruhakana Rugunda (Uganda), its President for July, the Council took note of the appeal by the just-concluded African Union Summit in Sirte, Libya, which called on the 15-nation body to impose sanctions against those, including Eritrea, providing support to the armed groups engaged in undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia, as well as regional stability.
“The Security Council is deeply concerned in this regard and will consider expeditiously what action to take against any party undermining the Djibouti peace process, based on all available evidence including that submitted to the Monitoring Group and the Committee established pursuant to Security Council resolution 751(1992),” the statement said.
Capping a morning-long debate, the Council reiterated its support for the Djibouti peace process as a framework for a lasting political solution in Somalia, and recognized the Transitional Federal Government as the country’s legitimate authority in the face of fresh rebel attacks aimed at seizing power in the capital, Mogadishu. It reaffirmed its 15 May demand that armed groups and foreign fighters bent on undermining peace and stability immediately end their offensive, put down their arms, renounce violence and join reconciliation efforts.
Further by the statement, the Council deplored the loss of life and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Somalia, which had resulted in increased flows of refugees and internally displaced persons, threatening stability in the region. It called on all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular to respect the security of civilians, humanitarian workers and staff of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Commending the contribution of the AMISOM to lasting peace and stability in Somalia, the Council expressed its continued appreciation to the Governments of Uganda and Burundi for committing troops to the Mission, and condemned any hostilities towards AMISOM. In that context, the Council welcomed the decision by the African Union Summit to increase the Mission’s strength to its mandated troop levels, and its call for African Union member States to provide the necessary military and police personnel.
Briefing the Council earlier, B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs said the meeting was taking place at a critical time as the situation in Somalia, especially in and around the capital, Mogadishu, remained very fragile. The Transitional Federal Government continued to face “intense pressure” from insurgent forces seeking to seize power with backing from foreign fighters.
Recalling that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had reiterated on several occasions that it was time for action on Somalia, he said: “The choice before us is a stark one: either we help the Somali people overcome the current attempt to thwart efforts for peace, or we allow the new unity Government, based on consensus and the Djibouti Accords, to fall to a radical armed opposition.” He added that the Government had attempted to win the hearts and minds of the Somali people and to project a moderate vision of Islam, in keeping with Somali culture. By contrast, Al Shabaab appeared to have intensified its strategy of coercion and intimidation. The group was using targeted assassinations of clan elders and Government officials, as well as harsh punishments for seemingly minor offences, including the decapitation of local community leaders and the dismemberment of a youth suspected of theft.
He went on to say that in Mogadishu the ongoing conflict between insurgent groups and Government forces had taken a severe toll on the civilian population, displacing more than 200,000 people since the start of the most recent spate of fighting in early May. Overall, more than 1.3 million people had been internally displaced and the humanitarian situation was being further exacerbated by worsening drought. “We must do all we can to preserve the gains achieved through the Djibouti Agreement […] it is in the international community’s interest to ensure the [Transitional Federal Government] does not collapse.” Action now would avert the inevitably higher price of going in later to deal with the enormous consequences, not only for Somalia but also the entire region.
Also briefing the Council, Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, said AMISOM’s current military strength in Mogadishu stood at 4,274 troops from Uganda and Burundi, and emphasized that bringing the force up to its mandated strength of 8,000 personnel was critical to securing key installations and humanitarian supply lines in the capital. Voluntary support for the Mission remained an essential complement to the United Nations logistics support package. As contributions were provided bilaterally, effective coordination was critical.
She said the funding available in the United Nations Trust Fund had not been applied to supporting AMISOM owing to the need to ensure the availability of funding to meet requirements not supported by major bilateral contributors. The establishment of the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM in the Nairobi premises of United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) had been achieved, the recruitment of international and national staff was ongoing, and important progress had been made with respect to access to Mogadishu for the purpose of building up essential security infrastructure to enable the establishment of a small, rotating presence in the Somali capital. Until security conditions permitted the Support Office to establish a small footprint in Mogadishu, interim oversight mechanisms would continue using United Nations, African Union and contracted personnel.
Somalia’s representative said that, while the Djibouti Accord had led to a unity Government, militants unfortunately continued to obstruct peace efforts and threaten the region. On 19 March, Osama bin Laden had declared war against the Transitional Federal Government, and in June, groups of extremists and foreign fighters had launched attacks against the Transitional Government, with the support of Eritrea.
In order to enable the Government to take control of the country, the President of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, had appealed to the recent African Union Summit to provide it with the necessary support as soon as possible. Moreover, the Summit communiqué called on the Security Council to take immediate measures, including the imposition of a no-fly zone and a blockade of Somalia’s seaports, to prevent the entry of foreign fighters. Somalia reiterated its request that AMISOM become part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission as soon as possible.
Several members of the Council expressed concern about the sharp up-tick in internal displacement, while others warned of the increasing number of non-Somali fighters entering the country. The representative of the United States said the Somali Government must be supported in its efforts to end the violence, lest the country become a lasting safe haven and training ground for those plotting terrorist attacks around the world. “If these extremists are successful, we will lose another generation of Somalis to war and poverty,” she pointed out. “The people of Somalia have suffered far too much for far too long.”
Decrying the lack of serious political will to help Somalia consolidate peace, Libya’s representative said a golden opportunity had been missed following the election of President Sharif and the formation of the new Transitional Federal Government. The international community’s reticence had emboldened the opposition, and the time had come for the Council to take the necessary measures to prevent access by Somali opposition forces to weapons, funds and foreign fighters. There should be support for the establishment of a national army, and for assistance to help the Government establish control over the country. That could only be done through the transformation of AMISOM into a United Nations mission as soon as possible.
Other speakers today were the representatives of the United Kingdom, Mexico, Turkey, Russian Federation, China, France, Costa Rica, Austria, Japan, Croatia, Burkina Faso, Viet Nam, Uganda and Sweden (on behalf of the European Union).
Also addressing the Council was the Permanent Observer for the African Union to the United Nations.
The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 1 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2009/19 reads as follows:
“The Security Council reiterates its previous resolutions and presidential statements on Somalia, in particular its resolution 1872, which reaffirmed the Djibouti Agreement as the basis for a resolution of the conflict in Somalia.
“The Security Council reiterates its support for the Djibouti Peace Process outlined in the Transitional Federal Charter, which provides a framework for reaching a lasting political solution in Somalia. The Security Council reaffirms its support for the Transitional Federal Government as the legitimate authority in Somalia under the Transitional Federal Charter and notes the declaration on 22 June of a state of emergency as a result of the recent renewal in fighting led by Al Shabaab and other violent opposition groups, which constitutes an attempt to remove that legitimate authority by force. The Security Council also reiterates its support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, for his efforts towards advancing the political process in Somalia.
“The Security Council condemns the recent attacks on the Transitional Federal Government and the civilian population by armed groups and foreign fighters who undermine peace and stability in Somalia. The Security Council reaffirms its demand of 15 May 2009 that violent opposition groups immediately end their offensive, put down their arms, renounce violence and join reconciliation efforts. The Security Council condemns the flow of foreign fighters into Somalia.
“The Security Council deplores the loss of life in Somalia and the deteriorating humanitarian situation, which has resulted in increased flows of refugees and internally displaced persons, threatening stability in the region. The Security Council calls on all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular to respect the security of civilians, humanitarian workers and AMISOM personnel.
“The Security Council reaffirms that Somalia’s long-term security rests with the effective development by the TFG of the National Security Force and the Somali Police Force, in the framework of the Djibouti Agreement and in line with a national security strategy, and urges the international community to support the Somali security institutions, including through training and equipping.
“The Security Council commends the contribution of the AMISOM to lasting peace and stability in Somalia, expresses its continued appreciation for the commitment of troops to AMISOM by the Governments of Uganda and Burundi, and condemns any hostilities towards AMISOM. In this context, the Security Council welcomes the decision by the African Union Summit at Sirte on 3 July to increase AMISOM’s strength to its mandated troop levels and its call for AU member States to provide the necessary military and police personnel.
“The Security Council takes note of the communiqué of the African Union summit in Sirte, calling on the Council to impose sanctions against those, including Eritrea, providing support to the armed groups engaged in undermining peace and reconciliation in Somalia and regional stability. The Security Council is deeply concerned in this regard and will consider expeditiously what action to take against any party undermining the Djibouti Peace Process, based on all available evidence including that submitted to the Monitoring Group and the Committee established pursuant to Security Council resolution 751 (1992).”
Meeting this morning to consider the situation in Somalia, the Security Council was expected to hear briefings by the Under-Secretaries-General for Political Affairs and Field Support.
B. LYNN PASCOE, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said the meeting was taking place at a critical time for Somalia as the situation in the country, especially in and around the capital, Mogadishu, remained very fragile. While there had been some solid successes in consolidating the Transitional Federal Government, it continued to face “intense pressure” from insurgent forces seeking to seize power with backing from foreign fighters.
Recalling that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had reiterated on several occasions that it was time for action on Somalia, he said: “The choice before us is a stark one: either we help the Somali people overcome the current attempt to thwart efforts for peace, or we allow the new unity Government based on consensus and the Djibouti Accords, to fall to a radical armed opposition.”
He said the Government of President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed had achieved some notable accomplishments in its first six months in office and was striving to maintain cohesion despite the obvious difficulties faced by any national unity government. It had maintained an open-door policy to those outside the Djibouti process by reaching out to opposition forces and working to broaden its base of support among community, religious and civil society leaders.
Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke had recently signed a broad-based agreement with Ahlu Sunna Waljamma, one of central Somalia’s major religious opposition groups, he said. It covered political, security, humanitarian and development issues, and had been negotiated in the spirit of Djibouti and underscored the Government’s determination to invite all groups to join in rebuilding the country. “The Government has attempted to win the hearts and minds of the Somali people and to project a moderate vision of Islam which is in keeping with Somali culture.”
He said the President’s recent pronouncements urging the Somali people to reject violence and extremism had also been helpful in that regard, but the Government would continue to require more support in its public information and outreach programmes to ensure wide dissemination of that message. By contrast, Al Shabaab appeared to have intensified its strategy of coercion and intimidation, using targeted assassinations of clan elders and Government officials, as well as harsh punishments for seemingly minor offences.
Recent examples of actions that had shocked many Somalis, who practised a moderate form of Islam, included the decapitation of local community leaders and the dismemberment of a youth suspected of theft, he said. Reports of resistance to the presence of Al Shabaab and foreign fighters by local and community leaders would bolster the Government’s efforts at political mobilization. “Even in the midst of its fight for survival, the Government has put in place more transparent and accountable financial management measures.”
Among other things, the Government had contracted the auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to assist with tracking and reporting on the use of funds, he said. That should generate greater donor confidence, especially among those who had made pledges in Brussels, thereby making the process more transparent. He went on to praise the work of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in helping the Government resist the latest assault on Mogadishu, which had been pivotal in such a difficult and challenging security environment. The Burundi and Ugandan contingents of that force were doing commendable work on behalf of the international community.
He went on to say that in Mogadishu the ongoing conflict between insurgent groups and Government forces had taken a severe toll on the civilian population, displacing more than 200,000 people since the start of the most recent spate of fighting in early May. Overall, more than 1.3 million people had been internally displaced and the humanitarian situation was being further exacerbated by the worsening drought in the country. Increasing insecurity in Juba and Mogadishu, coupled with drought and food insecurity, including in the Gebo region bordering Kenya, were among the major reasons for the noticeable increase in arrivals at Dadaab camp in Kenya.
Some 6,463 more refugees had been registered in June and, as of 5 July, the overall population at the camp stood at some 284,306, an increase of 21 per cent since the beginning of the year, he said. “The implications of this new influx on already congested facilities and tense host communities competing for resources are severe.” Humanitarian needs remained high and it was, therefore, critical that the Security Council encourage donors to rapidly fund the Consolidated Appeal. By the end of July, only 44 per cent of the $984 million requested had been received, leaving a critical shortfall in the areas of health, water and sanitation and security.
Highlighting the Secretary-General’s proposed four-track strategy to consolidate the political gains of the Djibouti Accords ‑‑ covering political, security, recovery and anti-piracy measures ‑‑ he said that, on the political track, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General had undertaken a series of discussions with the Government to identify key ministries whose capacity would need strengthening in the first phase. That was in addition to fostering national reconciliation and sustaining dialogue between the Transitional Federal Government and opposition groups.
On the security track, he said the United Nations Political Office in Somalia (UNPOS) had reached agreement with the Government on using the Joint Security Committee as the principal coordination mechanism between the Transitional Federal Government and the international community on security matters, including the establishment and functioning of the National Security Force and the Police Force. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) continued to coordinate police training, in consultation with AMISOM. The overall approach called for “expeditious assistance” to help the Government build its own security forces and institutions, and to strengthen AMISOM to its mandated strength of 8,000 personnel.
Turning to the recovery track, he said the United Nations country team was initiating a series of projects to help Somalia move beyond the current emergency and ensure that its people experienced some benefit from the peace process. The projects included increasing access to basic services such as water, health and education, livelihoods, through rapid employment generation, rehabilitation of key infrastructure and other rapid-impact recovery programmes.
On piracy, he said the United Nations appreciated the anti-piracy operations carried out by international maritime forces, noting that the Organization had been requested in May to serve as the Secretariat of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. A plan of action had been developed with the United Nations country team for the implementation of a series of activities that would provide alternative livelihoods while enhancing law enforcement.
There were three key measures that the international community could take in order immediately to turn around two decades of instability in Somalia. First, it was important to heed the call made at last week’s African Union Summit to support fully the Transitional Federal Government as the legitimate authority in Somalia. The international community should also honour the pledges made in support of the Government during the Brussels Donors’ Conference in April. The international community must also invest in building the country’s security institutions and improve the Government’s capacity to deliver public services and employment, which would have a positive impact on the hearts and minds of ordinary Somalis. Projects to encourage youth employment and enhance the livelihoods of ordinary Somalis should also be a priority.
Second, the international community should help build up AMISOM and provide it with the resources necessary for its continuing support for the Transitional Federal Government and people of Somalia. The Government’s immediate survival was very much dependent on a more robust AMISOM presence. “We strongly urge Member States to support the strengthening of AMISOM’s capacity and enable it to reach its full authorized strength of 8,000.” Third, the international community must focus on promoting reconciliation while at the same time taking measures against armed groups and foreign elements undermining the reconciliation process. The peace process was open to all groups that renounced violence and were willing to work with the Government.
In conclusion, he acknowledged that, while national reconciliation must begin first with the Somalis themselves, considerable international investment must be devoted to that goal. “We must do all we can to preserve the gains achieved through the Djibouti Agreement […] it is in the international community’s interest to ensure the [Transitional Federal Government] does not collapse.” Action now would avert the inevitably higher price of going in later to deal with the enormous consequences, not only on Somalia but also the entire region. “We believe that immediate and concerted action by the international community can help the Somali people turn a new page in their troubled history, creating a conducive environment for peace, stability and recovery to take root,” he said.
SUSANA MALCORRA, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, said the Organization’s support package for AMISOM was funded through voluntary contributions to United Nations trust funds, bilateral support for AMISOM and Somali security institutions, and assessed contributions. The success of the Brussels Donors’ Conference on 23 April was demonstrated by pledges of more than $200 million. The United Nations Trust Fund for AMISOM had received $15 million and discussions were under way with a view to doubling those contributions.
She said AMISOM’s current military strength in Mogadishu stood at 4,274 troops from Uganda and Burundi, and emphasized that bringing the force up to its mandated strength of 8,000 personnel was critical to securing key installations and humanitarian supply lines in the capital. Voluntary support for the Mission remained an essential complement to the United Nations logistics support package. As contributions were provided bilaterally, effective coordination was critical.
The Under-Secretary-General said that, to date, the funding available in the United Nations Trust Fund had not been applied to supporting AMISOM in order to ensure the availability of funding to meet requirements not supported by major bilateral contributors. She asked all Member States and regional organizations, including the European Union and the League of Arab States, to redouble their efforts to expedite the disbursement of pledges. Of the initial $72 million provided for United Nations logistics support for AMISOM, approximately 95 per cent had been committed. Available funding had been used to initiate the procurement of equipment and supplies for AMISOM and the new United Nations Support Office for AMISOM.
She went on to provide details of the delivery of rations, air support, fuel and sea freight, specialized support and training. Field defence stores, medical and pharmaceutical supplies and a mobile airfield lighting system had been deployed to Mogadishu, and training for those capacities was being conducted in Entebbe, Uganda. Troop contributors to AMISOM had identified additional training requirements for the operation of specialized equipment for strategic communications systems, first aid and trauma care. Following training in Entebbe, containers and prefabricated buildings from the former United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) were now being erected.
The construction of a Force Headquarters and a Level II Hospital in Mogadishu remained a priority, she said, adding that they would provide facilities for a United Nations presence in Somalia and allow AMISOM to expand from a military mission into an integrated civilian, police and military operation. A contract award for construction was targeted for August. Much of the equipment mobilized to date had been sourced through the use of strategic deployment stocks located at the United Nations logistics base in Brindisi, Italy. Meanwhile, the Government of Kenya had recently given its approval for the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM to establish a logistics support base in Mombasa. That was a welcome development which paved the way for immediate and long-term support, as well as improved means of delivery.
She said the United Nations Controller had endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding on the provision of support to AMISOM and submitted it to the regional organization for final approval. It established appropriate internal controls to ensure that all provision of equipment and services by the United Nations ‑‑ including payments and other support provided through the United Nations Trust Fund ‑‑ was carried out in a transparent manner. The General Assembly had approved further funding of $139 million for the Support Office for AMISOM for the start of the new budget period, effective 1 July. The Assembly was scheduled to consider funding for the full 2009/10 budget cycle in October. However, that short-term approach to funding limited the field Mission in undertaking longer-term strategic planning. Member States’ support for stable, full-year funding would ensure that the Support Office for AMISOM could continue its operations in a manner more conducive to its fully meeting its mandate.
In conclusion, she said systematic progress was being made in implementation of the support package to AMISOM. The establishment of the Support Office in the Nairobi premises of UNPOS had been achieved, the recruitment of international and national staff was ongoing, and important progress had been made with respect to access to Mogadishu for the purpose of building up essential security infrastructure to enable the establishment of a small, rotating presence in the Somali capital. Until security conditions would permit the Support Office to establish a small footprint in Mogadishu, interim oversight mechanisms would continue using United Nations, African Union and contracted personnel.
She said that when the required capability was fully implemented, the Support Office and logistics support package for AMISOM would provide one of the key steps towards implementation of the strategy endorsed by the Council in its resolution 1872 (2009). Although valuable gains were being made, it would take some months before the logistics support package was fully rolled out, which would probably happen in early 2010. Its effectiveness in supporting the implementation of AMISOM’s mandate depended on increasing the number of its troops on the ground.
ELMI AHMED DUALE (Somalia) said that, while the Djibouti Accord had led to a Government of National Unity, unfortunately, militants continued to obstruct peace efforts and threaten the region. The situation was critical because the presence of Al Qaida in Somalia was a reality. On 19 March, Osama bin Laden had declared war against the Transitional Federal Government, and in June, groups of extremists and foreign fighters had launched attacks against the Government with the support of Eritrea. Hundreds and thousands of civilians had been displaced from Mogadishu.
He said that, in order to enable the Government to take control of the country, President Sharif had appealed to the recent African Union Summit to provide it with the necessary support as soon as possible. There was a need to complete the mandated strength of AMISOM by 8,000 troops, broadening the Mission, and accelerate the training of Somali national forces by providing equipment and funding. The Summit communiqué called on the Security Council to take immediate measures, including the imposition of a no-fly zone and a blockade of seaports to prevent the entry of foreign fighters into Somalia. The regional body also sought sanctions against all foreign actors supporting the insurgents within and outside the region, especially Eritrea. Somalia reiterated its request that AMISOM become part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission as soon as possible.
JOHN SAWERS (United Kingdom) said that, away from the glare of the media, the situation on Somalia rarely got the attention it deserved and he was, therefore, grateful for today’s briefing, especially in light of the recent spate of attacks against the Transitional Federal Government. Action was required in the coming months to tackle the humanitarian crisis in light of the more than 3 million now needing assistance. That was “a staggering number” given that more than 150,000 people had been displaced from Mogadishu since early May. “The international community must continue to support the Transitional Federal Government in delivering security, food and health care.”
Action was also required on the political track, he said, stressing that, ultimately, what was needed was Somali solutions to Somali problems. The Djibouti Accord provided the basis for that, and the international community must, therefore, continue to support the Transitional Federal Government and President Sharif, including by living up to the pledges made in Brussels three months ago. The Transitional Government must continue its efforts at reconciliation and in providing security. “Third, we need to do all we can to bring an end to the attacks against the [Transitional Federal Government], AMISOM and the civilian population by armed groups, and provide a secure environment in which the [Transitional Federal Government] can work.”
Paying tribute to the Governments of Uganda and Burundi for their continuing commitment to AMISOM, he said his own country had donated some 10 million poundssterling to the United Nations Trust Fund for AMISOM, and as some 5 million pounds sterling to the African Union for the operation. The Security Council should seek to halt the flow of illegal weapons and ammunition entering the country and winding up in the hands of rebel groups. “We should demand that both internal and external attacks on the [Transitional Federal Government] and AMISOM forces immediately cease their actions.” In line with the request of the African Union, the Council should be ready to take action against any individuals, entities or Governments shown to be arming or supporting those carrying out such attacks.
However, the long-term solution to Somalia’s security remained the training of Somali security services, he said. UNDP had done some good work in training police, but there was still more to be done in strengthening the Joint Security Forces. Turning to piracy, he said the Council must continue to work to ensure security on the seas, as well as on land, by tackling both piracy and its root causes. Finally, the United Kingdom urged the Council to stand behind the call made by African Union leaders at the end of their recent Summit for an end to the recent fighting in Somalia and for all groups to respect and cooperate with the Transitional Federal Government.
SUSAN RICE (United States) said her country was committed to supporting Somalia by bolstering AMISOM, helping a legitimate and stable Transitional Federal Government establish itself and spread its authority throughout the country, partnering with the international community to ease the suffering of the Somali people, and battling the scourge of piracy. The United States condemned in the strongest terms the recent military offensive to topple the Mogadishu Government by Al Shabaab, a terrorist organization.
Expressing concern about the influx of foreign fighters into Somalia, she said the extremists aimed not only to prolong the violence but also to undermine the authority of the Transitional Federal Government. “If these extremists are successful, we will lose another generation of Somalis to war and poverty,” she pointed out. “The people of Somalia have suffered far too much for far too long.” The Somali Government must be supported in its efforts to end the violence, lest the country risk becoming a lasting safe haven and training ground for those plotting terrorist attacks around the world.
While applauding the bravery and dedication of the AMISOM forces, she said it was clear that bravery alone was not enough. The Mission needed the support of the United Nations and its Member States. For its part, the United States had provided AMISOM with some $135 million since its creation, but more must be done. The United States called on African Union States to consider sending more peacekeepers to the vital Mission, and on United Nations Member States to consider scaling up their support.
The international community must also take action to deal with those trying to undermine the Transitional Government by, among other things, doing a better job of stemming the flow of extremists, arms and money into Somalia, she said. The United States was particularly concerned about the support that Eritrea was giving Al Shabaab; she said her country had worked with other nations to open talks on the matter with that country, but those attempts had been rebuffed and Eritrea had refused to open a substantive dialogue. Still, it was not too late, and the United States called on the Government of Eritrea to seize the current window of opportunity to change its course.
She said her country was also concerned about the humanitarian situation in Somalia and had devoted some $149 million to humanitarian assistance in 2009, including more than $9 million for water and sanitation and agriculture. Security should indeed be the main focus, especially since the present situation aggravated the humanitarian crisis. The United States called on the international community to redouble its aid efforts to avoid a broader humanitarian disaster. The United States was also concerned about serious overcrowding in the refugee camps in neighbouring Kenya and elsewhere.
On piracy, she emphasized that it was a major symptom of wider problems in Somalia. The international community must continue to fight the disease and treat the symptoms. While much headway had been made through international cooperation to combat piracy, further progress was being stifled by disagreement on one key point: legal, logistical and political problems over the prosecution of suspected pirates. While States affected or victimized bore the main responsibility for prosecuting suspects, in cases where they could not do so, the United States applauded regional actors, such as Kenya, that had done so. At the same time, victimized States should step up to defray the costs of those that had taken such action, she stressed. The United States did not offer concessions to hostage-takers, whether driven by political or financial motives, and encouraged others to take the same approach. The United States would consider forming a group of “no-concession States” to help slow the rise of piracy off the Somali coast.
ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMED SHALGHAM (Libya) asked what had happened to the “responsibility to protect”, endorsed by the 2005 World Summit, in respect of the suffering of civilians as a result of 20 years of conflict. How could the United Nations not allocate the funds necessary to help African States willing to contribute their forces to complete the AMISOM troop requirements while the objecting States had rushed warships to the Somali coast when their interests were threatened? No State had made any move to protect Somali fish stocks that were being stolen. There was a need for full and robust engagement by the United Nations in support of the Transitional Federal Government, which could only be achieved through the Organization’s regular budget.
There had been a golden opportunity for the international community to resolve the problem after the election of President Sharif and the formation of the new Transitional Federal Government, he said, noting, however, that hesitation in supporting that Government had encouraged the opposition. The time had come for the Council to take the necessary measures to prevent access by the Somali opposition forces to weapons, funds and foreign fighters. There should be support for the establishment of a national army, and for assistance to help the Government establish control over the country. That could only be done through the transformation of AMISOM into a United Nations mission as soon as possible. The international forces off the Somali coast must also protect the country’s marine wealth and combat illegal fishing operations by foreign companies.
CLAUDE HELLER (Mexico) said there was a need for the Council to discuss the African Union’s request for the imposition of a no-fly zone and a blockade of Somali seaports to halt the entry of mercenaries and for sanctions against Eritrea for its support for the insurgents. Only by reinforcing the Government’s security capacity and enforcing the rule of law could it ensure long-term stability in the country. The gradual approach adopted in resolution 1872 (2009) was the best way to ensure the successful implementation of that resolution, after which the Council could consider possible deployment of a peacekeeping operation. However, given the current situation, there was a need for minimum conditions of security.
Noting that the forced displacement of some 200,000 individuals had intensified the already critical humanitarian situation in the country, he condemned all actions against AMISOM personnel, as well as the forced recruitment of children, and called for the protection of journalists and other media workers. Only through a comprehensive approach would it be possible to achieve the conditions for peace in Somalia. Mexico supported the work of the Contact Group on Piracy along the Somali Coast and recognized the importance of multilateral operations in that regard.
Speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Somalia sanctions committee, he said the sanctions regime had strengthened the peace process. Its Monitoring Group was initiating investigations into the illicit flow of weapons from Eritrea in support of insurgents. The committee would consider the initial draft of a list of individuals and entities who might be subject to sanctions. Countries in the region and the international community were urged to cooperate with the committee in combating the illicit trafficking of arms into Somalia.
FAZLI ÇORMAN (Turkey) said that, while important progress had been made in implementation of the Djibouti peace process over the last six months, the Transitional Federal Government was still faced with an existential challenge. In addition, the conflict had to a large degree lost its Somali identity as external forces had taken the lead in destabilizing the country. It was clear that the extremist armed groups and foreign elements targeting both the Transitional Government and AMISOM were aiming essentially to undermine the reconciliation process and bring about the collapse of the Government, as well as the Djibouti process. That should not be allowed to happen.
AMISOM had an important role to play in the days and months ahead, he said. In moving forward, effective implementation of the arms embargo on Somalia and the prevention of foreign elements from entering the country were, therefore, urgent priorities. Additionally, if Somalia was to stop being a source of instability in the Horn of Africa, all regional actors must become part of the solution and not the problem. On the other hand, while evaluating possible options for developing a pragmatic and concrete framework in further helping Somalia, the most effective would be a results-oriented approach that took into consideration past experiences with regard to Somalia and the region.
Denouncing the scourge of piracy off the coast of Somalia, he said it continued to be a serious threat to international maritime safety, particularly to seafarers and international trade, as well as to the security and prosperity of the countries in the region. In that regard, Turkey supported the work of the Contact Group on Somali Piracy and recognized that a lasting solution to the problem could only be found if anti-piracy efforts were supported and complemented by concrete policies and measures that would contribute to the restoration of law and order in Somalia, as well as sustained economic development in the region.
VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said that today’s briefings showed that the situation in Somalia continued to be unstable. Indeed, the recent spate of attacks by Islamists and other armed groups were another alarming wake-up call, not only for Somalia, but for the region in general. The Russian Federation supported efforts by the Transitional Government to address the challenges facing it, but even so, it was clear that only comprehensive and inclusive action on the part of the Government and all other parties in the country would succeed.
He said his country also supported efforts to strengthen security, build Government capacity and advance the broader political process. The Russian Federation commended the efforts of Burundi and Uganda in contributing to AMISOM, and called on all States in the region to pursue sound polices in order to ensure peace in Somalia.
Turning to piracy, he urged the international community to provide the Somali authorities with the resources to counter the scourge. The international community must also step up its naval escorts, as well as initiatives to destroy the pirates’ infrastructure, especially their financing mechanisms, while bringing perpetrators to justice. Somalia needed further assistance to bolster its criminal and legal sectors and stakeholders should consider the creation of international mechanisms for the prosecution of persons involved in piracy or armed robbery at sea.
LIU ZHENMIN (China) said his delegation was following the situation in Somalia and the Horn of Africa very closely, adding that stabilizing the situation as soon as possible would serve the common interest of the region and the wider international community. The top priority was to address the security situation, he said, condemning the recent spate of violence directed against the Transitional Government and the civilian population. China supported the early establishment of a security force in Somalia and called on the United Nations to step up its efforts to implement the support package for AMISOM.
He said all sides in Somalia must forge a consensus on the way forward ‑‑ that was the only way to ensure stability. They were all in the same boat, and further fighting would be disastrous for all. The United Nations and the Security Council should play a more active role on the question of Somalia. China called on the Organization to scale up support for the Transitional Government and AMISOM. The Chinese Government had already provided financial and logistical support to the Mission’s main troop contributors, and planned to provide even more assistance in the near future.
JEAN-MAURICE RIPERT (France) said that, for two months, the insurgents of Al Shabaab had refused to enter into dialogue and had persisted in fighting the Transitional Government, thereby undermining the positive trends that the Government had established. The continuing fighting had resulted in the usual victims: civilian women and children. More than 200,000 people had been displaced and the conditions in which humanitarian workers, as well as journalists, were operating had worsened. Often, they paid with their lives.
He said he was concerned about reports that insurgents were being supported by foreign fighters and supplied from Eritrea, adding that France was prepared to consider sanctions against those who undermined the Djibouti process. The international community must continue to provide support to the Transitional Government and AMISOM. France would contribute to the training of AMISOM troops, the number of which should be raised to the Mission’s mandated strength. Fighting piracy was also more necessary than ever, he said, noting that French maritime forces had arrested more than 200 pirates over the past two years. France also underlined the importance of the fight against impunity and the need to resume political dialogue when the situation allowed.
JORGE URBINA (Costa Rica) said the current situation in Somalia called for action in support of the Transitional Government, which had made great efforts to build a viable State. Inaction would lead to anarchy. The Government required assistance not only from all sections of Somali society who were committed to reconciliation, but also from those outside the process. National ownership of the strategy to be followed was imperative. The international community must support the Transitional Federal Government and strengthen its capacities.
While supporting the Secretary-General’s political strategy, including its three-phased approach, he welcomed the announcement that there would be a leading United Nations presence in Mogadishu in the very near future. Costa Rica called for follow-through on the pledges made at the Brussels Donors’ Conference and welcomed the decision by the African Union to raise the number of troops for AMISOM to the mandated level. Condemning attacks against the civilians and humanitarian workers, he called on all parties to respect international humanitarian law, while underscoring that combating impunity was a priority for peace and reconciliation in Somalia.
THOMAS MAYR-HARTING (Austria) said he fully supported the Transitional Federal Government, and acknowledged the important progress achieved in the Djibouti process over the past six months. At the same time, however, the security situation had deteriorated and a new spate of fighting had broken out. Even as the international community stepped up its efforts to address the security situation, it should also assist the Transitional Government’s efforts to reach out to parties remaining outside the Djibouti Accord.
He went on to express his country’s serious concern about the ongoing fighting in and around Mogadishu, especially the influx by foreign fighters and others attempting to overthrow the Government. Those suffering most were civilians and internally displaced persons, mostly women and children, who were the most vulnerable. Austria was also deeply concerned about the extrajudicial killings by Al Shabaab, which must stop, he said, also condemning attacks against humanitarian aid workers. Austria also applauded the specific efforts of Burundi and Uganda, and AMISOM in general, in such difficult conditions.
YUKIO TAKASU (Japan) said his delegation shared the serious concern expressed by others about the worsening security situation in Somalia, and condemned rebel attacks against the Transitional Government. Urgent action should be taken to strengthen Somali security institutions, as well as AMISOM. Japan was also concerned that the humanitarian situation was also deteriorating, with a growing number of refugees and internally displaced persons. The pledges made in Brussels must be expeditiously disbursed. Japan planned soon to disburse some $9 million to the Trust Fund in Support of AMISOM.
That Mission was playing an indispensable role in support of the Government, he continued, stressing that no effort should be spared in ensuring that AMISOM reached its mandated troop strength of 8,000, as requested by the Secretary-General. To realize that target, speedy implementation of the logistical support package was vitally important. He also stressed that, since the instability in Somalia was being caused by internal as well as external factors, it was essential to cut off outside military and economic assistance to rebel groups. “The countries in the region need to come together to assist the [Transitional Federal Government].” The wider international community must also step up its diplomatic support.
He said support for anti-piracy measures was another top priority, especially since such measures affected security on land. Longer-term solutions would require improved stability and governance, but meanwhile, international cooperation was essential to protect one of the word’s most important transport routes. Japan had sent two destroyers and two maritime patrol aircraft to the Gulf of Aden as part of broader anti-piracy efforts. It had also recently enacted a law penalizing acts of piracy. Japan would extend support to all piracy-related efforts in the region, as well as to training and job-creation programmes for youths who might be potential candidates for piracy.
RANKO VILOVIĆ (Croatia) said that progress on the political track had been encouraging, including the process of national reconciliation, which warranted the concrete support of the international community. The hard-won political gains made by the Transitional Government and its President must be preserved. Calling on all stakeholders to enter the Djibouti peace process, he strongly condemned all attempts to undermine it and urged all parties to adhere to international humanitarian law and respect human rights.
Expressing alarm at reported outside interference, particularly Eritrea’s support for insurgents, he underlined the obligation of all Member States to respect Council resolutions, pointing out that the Council already had at its disposal the necessary tools to deal with spoilers of the peace process. He welcomed the efforts of AMISOM and hoped other African States would soon follow Uganda and Burundi in providing more troops. Croatia hoped the pledges made at the Brussels Donors’ Conference would continue to materialize at a fast pace, and welcomed the possibility of a light United Nations presence in Mogadishu.
MICHEL KAFANDO (Burkina Faso) said the current situation in Somalia was marked by a serious deterioration of the security situation in Mogadishu, caused by Al Shabaab with the assistance of foreign fighters. The magnitude of the attacks pointed to the involvement of foreign forces supporting the insurgents. All countries in the region must, therefore, comply fully with the arms embargo. The African Union Peace and Security Council had reiterated its deep concern about the growing presence of foreign elements in Mogadishu, and had urged the Security Council to impose sanctions against individuals and States opposing the Djibouti Accord, in particular Eritrea. Burkina Faso urged the Somalia Sanctions Committee to step up its listing of individuals opposing the peace process.
Because the solutions provided were more like stop-gap measures, there was a need to deploy a United Nations peacekeeping operation encompassing AMISOM, he said, underscoring the need for direct assistance to help the Government restore stability in Mogadishu and the rest of the country. He called on those African countries that had promised troops for AMISOM to meet their commitments as soon as possible, and encouraged the Somali authorities to maintain their policy of openness. Given the attacks against officials and civilians, the human rights situation was a source of concern, he said, noting that neither AMISOM troops nor humanitarian personnel were exempt from attacks. The Council must, therefore, take the necessary measures to guarantee their protection.
HOANG CHI TRUNG (Viet Nam) expressed his country’s deep concern about the ongoing violence in and around Mogadishu, notably the intensified attacks by the insurgent groups Al Shabaab and Hisbul Islam, against the Transitional Federal Government and AMISOM. The attacks had brought death and injury to many peacekeepers and civilians. There was also grave concern about the extremely alarming humanitarian situation, given that more than 1 million people were internally displaced and over 3 million on the verge of starvation.
In light of the suffering of the civilian population and the continuing deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation, he said there was an urgent need for immediate and vigorous international support for the Transitional Government’s endeavours to repel the onslaught by extremist forces intent on destroying the Djibouti peace process and spoiling efforts to bring peace and stability to Somalia through political reconciliation.
He said he supported the Government’s call for the mobilization of additional troops to enable AMISOM to counter insurgent attacks, and appreciated the efforts of Uganda and Burundi in contributing to the maintenance of security in Mogadishu. Further deterioration in Somalia, with Al Shabaab controlling much of the southern and central parts of the country would have regional implications for an escalation of the conflict and, more dangerously, run the risk of turning the region into a safe haven for international terrorists. Viet Nam urged the international community to work together to prevent that danger, end the violence and advance the cause of peace and stability.
Council President RUHAKANA RUGUNDA (Uganda), speaking in his national capacity, noted that the Council had spent a lot of time discussing the situation in Somalia. In the past six months alone, it had adopted two resolutions and issued one presidential statement, as well as four statements to the press. Despite that attention, the conflict continued to destroy lives and negatively impact the entire region. The situation continued to disrupt international trade through piracy, while threatening international peace and security.
He said the Djibouti peace process remained the best opportunity to achieve lasting peace in Somalia, and commended efforts by the Transitional Government to advance the political process. At the same time, Uganda was concerned that, despite attempts to jump-start the reconciliation process, some elements within and outside Somalia were still bent on violence. Uganda condemned attacks against the Transitional Government, the civilian population and AMISOM by violent opposition groups and foreign elements in their attempts to undermine the political process and reconciliation efforts. Uganda also welcomed the support for efforts to alleviate the humanitarian situation and that extended to the Government and AMISOM.
Calling on the United Nations and other partners to expedite the necessary support to allow AMISOM effectively to implement its mandate, he called also on African Union member States to provide the required personnel to enable the Mission to reach its mandated capacity of 8,000 troops. He noted that relevant Security Council resolutions stressed that AMISOM was a transitional step towards the eventual creation of a United Nations peacekeeping operation. The Council should, therefore, continue making the necessary preparations towards the eventual “re-hatting” of the AMISOM troops. Finally, he noted that, just a few days ago, the African Union Summit had called on the Council to take urgent measures to address the grave situation in Somalia, and called on the Council to “respond accordingly”.
LILA HANITRA RATSIFANDRIHAMANANA, Permanent Observer, African Union, said the Transitional Federal Government had achieved significant progress in restoring revenue collection mechanisms, reorganizing the security forces and rallying clan leaders and religious dignitaries to the peace process. However, intensified attacks by insurgents had jeopardized those considerable gains. Although the situation remained fragile, the Djibouti peace process had held, thanks to the support of the international community. The African Union Peace and Security Council had requested the Council to impose sanctions against all foreign elements providing support to the insurgents.
With 4,274 troops, consisting of three battalions from Uganda and two from Burundi, AMISOM was short four battalions, besides lacking air and maritime components, she said, calling for the rapid deployment of additional battalions from Sierra Leone and Malawi. Efforts were under way to secure a third battalion from Burundi and relocate the civilian component of AMISOM from Nairobi to Mogadishu. Although grateful for the Trust Fund approved by the General Assembly and the support provided by the European Union, AMISOM deserved regular financing through regular contributions from Member States.
She said the African Union Assembly in Sirte, Libya, had welcomed the significant progress made in the Somali political process and urged all stakeholders to commit to the dialogue and join the peace process. It had strongly condemned the recent attacks on the Transitional Government and the civilian population by armed groups and foreign elements, while demanding that they end such attacks. The Assembly had appealed to African Union member States to provide the necessary military and police personnel that would enable AMISOM to reach its authorized strength.
She recalled also that the Assembly had called on the Security Council to take immediate measures, including the imposition of a no-fly zone and a blockade of Somalia’s sea ports, to prevent the entry of foreign elements. It had also requested sanctions against all foreign actors providing support to armed groups. The Council must take rapid actions. Meanwhile, the African Union had decided to combat the payment of ransom to terrorist groups and requested the Council to adopt a resolution against such payments. The African Union renewed the call for the United Nations to take over its Mission, in accordance with the express wish of the Djibouti Accord.
ANDERS LIDÉN (Sweden), speaking on behalf of the European Union, observed that the main challenge facing the international community was to maintain the political momentum started a few months ago, which was now being sabotaged by hard-line insurgents deliberately seeking to undermine a political solution by targeting Somalia’s Transitional Federal Institutions and the Djibouti peace process.
He strongly condemned the recent killings of the Minister for Security, the Mogadishu police chief and Member of Parliament, as well as the attacks against civilians in south and central Somalia. The European Union called for an immediate cessation of hostilities to avoid further civilian casualties and deplored the humanitarian consequences of recent attacks. All parties must abide by international humanitarian law, respect human rights and protect the civilian population. The European Union took note of the African Union’s message from Sirte, and strongly called on all States to respect the United Nations arms embargo.
Stabilizing the security environment was vital for building State institutions, providing the necessary humanitarian assistance, and resuming a path to development and political reconciliation, he emphasized, stressing that, once the security situation improved in Mogadishu and beyond, the Government must resume its efforts to complete the Transitional Federal Charter. With the capabilities of AMISOM needing further strengthening, the European Union had committed a total of €40 million so far, in addition to bilateral contributions from its member States. Additional support was under consideration.
He said that, following the Brussels Conference in April, there was now an urgent need to follow up on the pledges made by the international community, which must be implemented swiftly. Also, the security sector should be committed to the rule of law, respect for human rights, and good governance. Enhancing the capacity of the Somali security and police forces was vital to the country’s stability and to State-building efforts. The Djibouti process remained the best hope for peace; to that end, intensified and urgent efforts were now needed to save that process from “dissolving”. The European Union urged all parties in Somalia to join that effort.
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