7942nd Security Council Meeting: Situation in Somalia

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SIX OFFICIAL 17-May-2017 02:09:09
Somalia’s election outcome hailed as unique chance to overcome insecurity and humanitarian crisis, as Security Council considers latest developments during the 7942nd meeting.
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Permanent Representative Urges Easing of Arms Embargo to Permit Heavy Weapons

Somalia’s peaceful election of a new President had opened a unique opportunity to surmount entrenched insecurity, political and humanitarian challenges and create a functional State in the coming four years, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council today.

Urging international support to help the Somali authorities realize that vision, Raisedon Zenenga, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, said that country’s Federal Government and the leaders of its federal member states had concluded a political agreement on the national security architecture. That framework defined the size, structure, composition, command-and-control structure and financing for Somalia’s security forces.

“The significance of that agreement is enormous,” he said by video link from Mogadishu, offering a model for other political agreements on management of natural resources, sharing of revenue, and definition of the Federal Government’s powers, as well as those of the federal member states. Reached two months into the term of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, the accord should be coupled with an agreement defining a federal model for the justice and corrections sector, he added.

Describing insecurity caused by Al-Shabaab as the biggest challenge, he said fighting the group required offensive operations by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army, alongside partners in a position to undertake special counter-terrorism operations. Efforts must also be made to extend State authority, address deficits in governance and resolve local conflicts, he emphasized.

In a second briefing, Francisco Caetano José Madeira, Special Representative for Somalia of the African Union Commission Chairperson and Head of AMISOM, described the 16 April national consultative forum — the first of its kind — as an “unheard of milestone” whereby regional leaders and others had agreed to establish regional security councils. The agreement to build an affordable, professional Somali security force would be a strong barrier against insecurity, he stressed.

He went on to underline the need for partnership between the Federal Government and the Somali people in pursuit of a shared national agenda. Applauding the President’s decision to extend amnesty to former Al-Shabaab combatants willing to renounce violence, he described the peaceful transfer of power in Somalia as “a major feat of unique significance”.

In the ensuing discussion, delegates expressed deep concern over the unrelenting drought-fuelled humanitarian crisis in Somalia, which many said could derail hard-won security gains. Al-Shabaab continued to disrupt relief supplies, some said, stressing that improving security should be a major priority. Egypt’s representative joined others in anticipating the creation of professional Somali security forces, and the provision of support to military and law-enforcement institutions. Senegal’s representative said AMISOM’s exit strategy must go hand in hand with the strengthening of Somali forces, emphasizing that the joint African Union-United Nations review of AMISOM would be crucial in that regard.

Other speakers hailed the formation of a Federal Government dedicated to fighting corruption, reforming the Constitution, pursuing federalism and rejuvenating the economy. The Russian Federation’s representative welcomed the President’s amnesty for those willing to lay down their arms as a progressive sign, while the United Kingdom’s delegate reminded that commitments to address constitutional issues relating to the sharing of resources must be fulfilled.

Somalia’s representative pledged the President would spare no effort in fighting the “three main enemies” of terrorism, corruption and poverty. Having appointed a Prime Minister and a Cabinet comprising six women, the most ever, he would work with Parliament to ensure inclusive and vibrant politics, conducted on a level playing field. However, the arms embargo imposed on Somalia — despite having been partially lifted in favour of the security forces — had curtailed its ability to secure heavy weapons, he said, expressing hope that it would be lifted fully. The new President wanted to change the narrative of Somalia as a failing State. “We are certain we will only go forward toward progress and prosperity,” he declared.

Also speaking today were representatives of China, United States, Japan, France, Italy, Sweden, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Bolivia and Uruguay.

The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 12:13 p.m.
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