Statement to the 425th meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council by Ambassador Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia
NEW YORK, March 24, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- [AS DELIVERED]
Your Excellency, Chairperson of the Peace and Security Council,
Your Excellencies, members of the Council, Ambassadors, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen
Thank you very much indeed for inviting me to address the Council today and thank you for the African Union's continued support to peace and stability in Somalia.
It is a moment, I would say full of promise and progress but not without challenges. It is a time today, in which we are all turning plans into actions. I would certainly like to pay sincere tribute to the brave men and women of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Without them, we would not be where we are today. It is important to underline that under Ambassador Annadif's resolute leadership, AMISOM continues to be the single most important contributor to the security of Somalia, and a vital partner for the Federal Government and the United Nations in peace-building, state-building and stabilisation.
2014 is a crucial year for Somalia. It is a year which will be challenging on both the political and security fronts, but also a year where we need to see progress.
As we meet and as Ambassador Annadif has explained, AMISOM and the Somali National Army are achieving significant military gains. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2124 made possible the most significant and geographically extensive military advance since AMISOM began; operation “Eagle” is a direct and visible outcome with remarkable successes so far and major towns now extended under state authority. I salute the courage and professionalism of the African Union and Somali forces. I also recognise the invaluable support provided by key partners, in particular the United States of America, the European Union and its member states and Turkey.
I would like to underline that the UN is doing everything possible to support the renewed operations and I welcome the meetings which are now happening with UNSOA and the senior leadership in AMISOM to address what have been somehow standing issues. But I can underline that supplies of food, fuel, water are being delivered by the UN Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA) in all sectors. Casualty, medical evacuations in some considerable number are happening. I underline also and echo Ambassador's Annadif appeal for military helicopters for the mission, for AMISOM, and again the UN and UNSOA stand ready with the budget for 12 helicopters if they were to be provided by member states. UNSOA and UNSOM have been supporting the training of Somali National Army troops and pre-deployment training of AMISOM forces. This includes training in human rights and humanitarian law, in accordance with the Secretary-General's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.
I think we should not forget the absolute ambition and complexity of the operation that AMISOM is undertaking. This is an operation that has started with a massive 'Relief in Place' as the new sectors are created and forces move. It now has six contingents, as Ambassador Annadif said, contributing on the military side and they are now undertaking difficult, demanding operations simultaneously in at least five different sectors. This is a scale and complexity of operation that would challenge many organisations and I think we should pay tribute both to the African Union success and also the UN/UNSOA success in supporting this operation so effectively to date. But more can be done and more improvement in communication and liaison between the organisations, I am sure will help resolve any outstanding issues.
Military operations alone will not achieve sustainable peace and it is therefore vital that military operations are accompanied with stabilisation efforts. The Government of Somalia has already taken the lead on this and provided the framework for the stabilisation, including the establishment of interim local administrations. UNSOM has been working closely with AMISOM, IGAD and other partners to support this - and will be providing technical support and advice to the newly established interim local administrations. I have recently allocated $3 million from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund to be used for the immediate responses in this context.
AMISOM, UNSOM/UNSOA and the Federal Government need to continue to harmonise their work in order to deliver the greatest impact to the people of Somalia. In particular, it will be critical to coordinate our efforts during the operations to ensure human rights and humanitarian principles are upheld. In this regard, I look forward to the swift establishment of the Civilian Causality tracking mechanism, as well as the endorsement of the Protection of Civilians strategy.
Furthermore, on the political process, which again Ambassador Annadif has explained very clearly, the best hope for peace and stability in Somalia remains a united, secure and federal Somalia. This is achievable and I believe that Somalia can reach its goal of an agreed constitution, a nation-wide electoral process and improved security by 2016. In order to achieve this, the targets which the Federal Government has set out in its Vision 2016 framework should be our guiding framework as the international community. Progress on the creation of a federal Somalia has its challenges as we have seen recently in Baidoa where two rival camps advocating for a six- and three-region state respectively have yet to come to the negotiating table. I will continue to work closely with key partners, principally the African Union, IGAD and the European Union, to support a Federal Government-led process with respect to its commitment for the formation of a three-region state. I condemn the violence and killing yesterday in and outside Baidoa and I call for restraint and an urgent response by the Federal Government to lead the peacebuilding process.
In the south of Somalia, implementation of the Addis Ababa agreement of 28th of August has been mixed. I strongly support IGAD's role as guarantor of the agreement and IGAD's special envoy Ambassador Affey's initiative to accelerate full implementation of the technical, security and political elements.
Elsewhere and further to the north, I am also concerned by the military tensions between Puntland and Somaliland in the Sool and Sanaag regions. I call for maximum caution and avoidance of confrontation.
I am pleased that AMISOM in conjunction with the Federal Government have increased their security operations in the city of Mogadishu and that the Government has developed a new security strategy for Mogadishu. We are, as Ambassador Annadif says, beginning to see the positive results of that.
Finally, we need to keep in mind that the military offensive is sparking humanitarian needs, which need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Most of the humanitarian needs so far have been the result of population movements. Humanitarian access due to the volatile security situation remains a challenge. Humanitarian partners are working to determine urgent needs and how best to respond.
The military gains should be followed by sustainable peace- and state- building results. I firmly believe this can be achieved and that both the UN and the African Union have a great role to play. Only together can we can help the Federal Government deliver to the Somalis what they most need: improved security, rule of law, education, health, jobs, economic development. Let us remember that Somalia is at a turning point of a long road. It needs now more than ever our collective efforts in order to move forward. Together, I am sure, by 2016, we will achieve much of which we now dream.
I thank you very much.