UN / To keep Somalis 'committed', Secretary-General urges Security Council to continue support of political, security, recovery processes
NEW YORK, March 6, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks at the Security Council's open debate on Somalia, in New York on 5 March:
Thank you for this opportunity to update the Security Council on the situation in Somalia. I thank Henry Bellingham, United Kingdom Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, for chairing this meeting during his country's presidency of the Council. I commend the leadership and efforts of the United Kingdom to sustain international support for Somalia following the London Conference.
This is a critical moment for Somalia. Since my last briefing to the Council, three major developments have provided momentous impetus to the Somalia peace process. First, the Garowe II Consultative Conference held last month. Second, the adoption of Security Council resolution 2036 (2012) on an expanded and well-resourced AMISOM. And third, the London Conference held just 11 days ago.
These developments, coming in quick succession within less than a month, present a rare opportunity to the Somali people and the international community to rapidly advance the peace process, albeit with guarded optimism, and to bring Somalia fully back to the international arena.
The Garowe Principles provide clear steps to end the transition by August of this year and launch a new political dispensation. I particularly welcome the inclusion of a requirement that women hold a minimum of 30 per cent of the seats in the Independent Electoral Commission, the Constituent Assembly and the new Federal Parliament.
The decision of the Security Council to endorse the expansion of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) follows major gains by AMISOM, Transitional Federal Government forces and their partners in the military effort against Al-Shabaab. This new support will be crucial in enabling the Transitional Federal Government to extend its authority across a wider area of southern and central Somalia, and to significantly degrade the insurgency's military capability across the country. The military gains need to be consolidated through continued progress by Somalia's political leaders in the implementation of the Roadmap for ending the transition, which is the basis for lasting peace and stability in Somalia.
The London Conference reiterated the commitment of the international community to strongly support the establishment of the new institutions that would lead to ending the transition, to provide support to AMISOM that would allow it to sustain the political process, and to provide sustained international support for recovery and development. London also strengthened collective resolve to protect human rights and increase humanitarian assistance.
The London Conference occurred during a respite in Somalia's humanitarian crisis. Sustained high levels of humanitarian assistance and an exceptional harvest have improved the situation.
However, this progress is extremely fragile — and will likely deteriorate in the coming months as we move into the lean season before the next and most important harvest period in August. Somalia is not out of danger.
In London, I held a wide range of meetings, including with President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, key stakeholders and regional leaders. My interlocutors thanked the United Nations, urged continued assistance and welcomed the Council's decision to support AMISOM. I received assurances that the guard force, as authorized by the Security Council, would be deployed. But, of course, I look forward to the day when Somalia forces themselves ensure security and this force will no longer be needed. I also discussed the challenge of Somali piracy with Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization. We agreed on the need for security, deterrence and prosecutions — but also, and just as importantly, for education and jobs.
Following the announcement I made during my visit to Mogadishu in December last year, I am pleased to report that my Special Representative, [Augustine] Mahiga, and his team has relocated to the capital. The initial deployment is focusing on the core business of the United Nations Political Office (UNPOS), which encompasses the provision of good offices to the Transitional Federal Institutions and major Somali political and security actors in Mogadishu, including the Joint Security Committee; support for the road-map process; coordination with AMISOM, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the United Nations country team and the international community in Mogadishu; the provision of timely and accurate information and analysis on political issues; and outreach to key constituencies on fundamental mission priorities and mandated tasks.
Additional staff will deploy as accommodation and other logistical facilities become available. Our intention is to move more staff from Nairobi to Somalia in the coming weeks. Maintaining this momentum is critical. I thank Turkey for agreeing to host the Istanbul II conference, which I look forward to attending and which I encourage others to attend at the highest level.
To keep the Somalis committed and accountable, this Council must show its continued engagement and support in the political, security and recovery processes. I ask the Security Council to encourage all participants in the London Conference and the entire international community to support the implementation of the London Communiqué.
For UNPOS in particular, this will require immediate human and financial resources to put in place the processes and structures for ending the transition period in a satisfactory manner within a tight timeframe. My Special Representative will elaborate on these and other developments, as well as plans for the remaining transitional period.
As I emphasized at the London Conference, in particular to Somali leaders, a new window of opportunity for peace and stability has opened. But it is a narrow window. All stake-holders must act with urgency and unity of purpose. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity.