Promise of New Somalia Emerging from Decades-Long Violence, Instability Remains Fragile, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Security Council

30 October 2013

Promise of New Somalia Emerging from Decades-Long Violence, Instability Remains Fragile, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Security Council

30 October 2013
Security Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

7054th Meeting (AM)

Promise of New Somalia Emerging from Decades-Long Violence, Instability

Remains Fragile, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Security Council


Status Quo No Option amid Extremist Mayhem,

Deputy Prime Minister Says, Adding Country ‘Is No Longer a Failed State’

The promise of a new Somalia emerging from decades of violence and instability remained fragile, the Security Council heard today, amid calls for stepped-up measures by the United Nations to bolster the Government’s capacity to protect international operations over the long term.

“It is hard to ask for additional resources in our present difficult financial environment,” said Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson as the Council considered the situation in Somalia.  “But it is my duty to advise this Council that, without increased support, our present — and indeed past — investment in peace, and that of millions of Somalis, may be lost,” he warned.

“It is essential that security efforts proceed hand in hand with the political, peacebuilding and development efforts,” Mr. Eliasson said, recommending the provision of more non-lethal and logistical assistance to the Somali army and the creation of a temporary United Nations Guard Unit to protect the Organization’s personnel and installations.

Stating that he had seen “hope and determination” during his latest visit to Somalia, he said that he had emphasized during talks with national leaders the importance of building institutions, as well as ensuring the rule of law and respect for human rights.  The African Union and the United Nations had established a unique and heartening partnership in the country, he said, praising the all-round commitment to peace and unity.

However, the moment of hope was fragile, he cautioned, adding that after 18 months of operations that had uprooted the Al-Shabaab militant group from major cities, the campaign by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali forces had ground to a halt.  Al-Shabaab, on the other hand, was training and recruiting substantial numbers of young men to carry out deadly attacks such as the one in Nairobi last month.

He said the Secretary-General and the African Union jointly recommended (document S/2013/606) a significant temporary boost to maintain the basic security required for peacebuilding, as well as to respond to the evolving threat from Al-Shabaab.  Enhancements for AMISOM would allow the Mission to recover strategic locations exploited by Al-Shabaab to generate revenue while recruiting and training combatants.  Providing non-lethal and logistic support to Somali forces would enable them to operate effectively alongside AMISOM until the national police could take over.

The recent surge in attacks against United Nations personnel posed a serious obstacle to the implementation of resolutions mandating the Secretary-General to establish an enhanced presence in Somalia, he said.  Following the attack on 19 June, the world body’s agencies, funds and programmes had a severely restricted capacity to plan and deliver programmes.  Moreover, AMISOM’s present assets and competing priorities did not permit a substantial increase in protection for United Nations installations and operations, he said, requesting the Council to authorize the deployment of a guard unit until national forces could assume that responsibility.

Turning to the Secretary-General’s report on piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia (document S/2013/623), he emphasized the need for greater efforts to address its underlying causes, saying the international naval presence remained vital.  Calling on Member States to expand efforts to develop the country’s Maritime Resource and Security Strategy, he stressed the importance of coordinated international action, and of the self-protection measures developed by the global shipping industry.

Also addressing the Council, Deputy Prime Minister Fauzia Yusuf Haji Adan of Somalia spoke of the “immense opportunity” before her country as it emerged from a fragile political transition.  Somalia was committed to establishing a national democratic Government that would pursue fair and inclusive development, uphold individual human rights and strengthen international partnerships on the basis of mutual respect.

“ Somalia is no longer a failed State,” emphasized Ms. Adan, who is also the Minister for Foreign Affairs.  The Government had placed people at the centre of peace, development and stability.  Welcoming the international community’s commitment — expressed in the New Deal framework signed in Brussels earlier this year — she said the country remained vulnerable and needed sustained support to beat back the threat posed by extremist groups.  Enhanced non-lethal and logistical support would allow Somalia to create the security conditions central to sustainable peace and development.

Emphasizing that the status quo was not an option when extremists were committed to maximizing mayhem, she said the suspension of AMISOM’s operations provided Al-Shabaab with an opportunity to regroup and take the initiative.  She requested the Council to act swiftly to prevent the unravelling of recent gains.  Closing the serious gap between pledges of support to AMISOM and the tempo of its operations was critical to discouraging the terrorists, enhancing Somali institutions and public safety, ensuring effective governance and holding general elections in 2016, she said, stressing that any increase in support must not be attached to specific timelines.

Before concluding the meeting, Council President Agshin Mehdiyev ( Azerbaijan) expressed his sincere appreciation to members and to the Secretariat for their support and cooperation during a busy month.

The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 10:43 a.m.

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