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8352nd Security Council Meeting: Situation in Somalia
13 Sep 2018 -  The past three years have seen some remarkable achievements in Somalia – including the peaceful transition of presidential power, improved finances, and the formation of a Government with a compelling reform agenda — the top United Nations official in the Horn of Africa country told the Security Council today, while cautioning that no one should be deluded about the challenges ahead.
“The structural problems that shape Somali politics and security have not fundamentally changed,” emphasized Michael Keating, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), in his last briefing to the Council.
He said key challenges include the threat of Al-Shabaab and other extremists out to spoil progress; political differences that can block progress, the passage of key legislation and implementation of the Government’s reform and security agenda; fragmented international support, including disunity within the Security Council; and the prospect of a humanitarian catastrophe. Unfortunately, the chances of the latter possibility are high, he said.
While pointing out that Somalia’s future is in the hands of Somalis, he stressed that political will alone is not enough. They will need essential practical capacities and success in fostering truly inclusive politics, far from easy in a political economy scarred by 30 years of violent conflict. Emphasizing that the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) deserves predictable funding and a clear drawdown horizon, he warned that its premature departure could be disastrous.
Also briefing the Council, Francisco Madeira, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union, said Somalia is on the way to taking ownership of its future. AMISOM has handed over the security responsibility to Somali forces, and the Mission will continue to support Government efforts to implement the transition plan, he said, underlining the critical nature of the next six months. The rationale for the security transition is to build the institutional capacity of the security and justice sectors, he explained.
A third briefer was Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN‑Women). “Peace will not be achieved by military means alone,” she declared. “I know Somalia will not have long‑lasting peace and deep reconciliation without women’s far-reaching contribution and recognition.” Somalia has a once-in-a-generation opportunity for both peace and gender equality, she emphasized. Women’s representation in Somalia jumped from 14 per cent to 25 per cent in the last parliamentary elections, she said, pointing out that the participation of women would be boosted further were the matter not left in the hands of clan elders.
Ethiopia’s delegate said reconciliation and the start of normalization processes involving his own country, as well as neighbouring Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia, have already provided the possibility of extended economic integration and a wider political response. “The wind of change blowing across the Horn of Africa has rekindled a new sense of hope and optimism for regional peace and stability,” he added. Underlining the urgent need for the Secretary‑General to resolve the current tensions between Somalia’s Federal Government and its federal states, he emphasized that the country still needs sustained international support to ensure post-conflict recovery.
France’s representative, while commending the transition of security responsibility to Somali forces, stressed that it must be completed within the agreed timeline. Successful implementation of the transition plan depends on establishing a strong national security architecture, and on ensuring that AMISOM’s mandate is reconfigured to maintain the trajectory towards eventual withdrawal, she added, while underlining that the European Union cannot continue to finance the Mission on its own and that new partners must commit themselves to providing support.
Somalia’s representative urged the Security Council to take urgent steps to cut off the means of Al-Shabaab’s survival and propose clear and adequate resources to enable the relevant sanctions committee to identify its supporters. He said Government initiatives are now tackling terrorist threats through a range of measures amid continuing efforts to advance the security transition process.
Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Bolivia, Côte d’Ivoire, Peru, Sweden, China, Netherlands, Kazakhstan, Equatorial Guinea, Poland, Kuwait, Russian Federation and the United States.
The meeting began at 10:12 a.m. and ended at 12:33 p.m.
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