The situation in Somalia - Security Council, 9040th meeting
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The situation in Somalia: Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia (S/2022/392)

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The peaceful transfer of power following the conclusion of elections on 15 May offers a long-awaited opportunity for Somalia to make progress on urgent national priorities, the top United Nations official in that country told the Security Council today.

“It is past time for Somali leaders to move beyond the prolonged political contest to focus on urgent national priorities,” said James Swan, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

Describing the conclusion of Somalia’s electoral process as a major milestone for the country, he noted that Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected Somalia’s new President by a decisive margin.  Outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo graciously conceded and the new President was immediately sworn in and the outcome has been fully accepted. 

The Special Representative said that the new President emphasized national reconciliation, improving relations between the central Government and federal member states, addressing the security threat from Al-Shabaab, finishing the constitutional review and judicial reforms, completing election-related laws, ensuring compliance with international financial institutions’ requirements for debt relief and giving urgent attention to the dire drought conditions.

The entire United Nations system in Somalia is ready to work with the new Government in support of these shared goals, he added.

Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia and Head of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), detailed joint work between the Government and ATMIS, which was created as a result of reconfiguration from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

He said that since 1 April, transition activities have focused on the disruption of Al-Shabaab, the mentoring and training of Somali security forces, and joint planning with them.  Other planned activities with the forces include the second convening of a logistics conference and an equipment review, enabling the two to develop a joint reconfiguration plan.

Predictable funding and equipment attuned to force mobility are vital to degrading Al-Shabaab, he insisted, underscoring the need to scale up air strategic support, notably with helicopters and other assets.  It is also critically important for international partners to prioritize enhanced support for the Federal Government to raise pay and procure equipment, enabling authorities to assume full responsibility for Somalia’s security.

In the ensuing discussion, delegates broadly welcomed the completion of the electoral process but expressed regret that the 30 per cent quota for women in Parliament has not been met.  Many speakers condemned brutal attacks by Al-Shabaab and highlighted the need to address the dire humanitarian conditions.

The United Kingdom’s representative said that the ongoing threat posed by Al-Shabaab highlights the need for the new Government to secure broad-based political agreement on a national security architecture that is effective, affordable and facilitates sustainable transition to Somali-led security, while maintaining pressure on Al-Shabaab.

Gabon’s delegate, speaking also for Ghana and Kenya, joined an appeal by the African Union Peace and Security Council for international partners to make further financing commitments to ATMIS to enable its mandate implementation for the next 30 months.  He called for capacity-building for the Somali forces to counter “an explosive security cocktail” made of foreign fighters allied with various clan militias.

The representative of the United States, Council President for May, spoke in her national capacity, urging the new Somali Government to address the dire humanitarian situation.  If the Russian Federation’s brutal war in Ukraine continues to prevent wheat and other foods from reaching Somalia, it may push that country well over to the brink of famine, she warned.

Calling for scaled up humanitarian aid to Somalia, India’s representative pointed out that 7.7 million people need urgent assistance, however the $1.5 billion humanitarian response plan for this year remains barely funded.  For its part, India continues to support Somalia through developmental assistance and capacity-building programmes.

Echoing the sentiment of many Council members, the speaker for Mexico welcomed the election of the first woman Deputy Speaker of Somalia’s House of the People, nonetheless expressing regret that the 30 per cent quota was not achieved and that the number of women in Parliament is lower than in 2016.

Somalia’s representative said that the newly elected President and Parliament are prepared to continue to deepen federalism and reconciliation and to tackle socioeconomic, structural, and political issues.  The more immediate challenge is the threats posed by Al-Shabaab.  “There is no doubt that we are succeeding in the fight against Al-Shabaab in a multi-pronged approach, embedded in the political strategy,” he said, adding that the brave Somali national forces are dismantling Al-Shabaab hideouts and financial networks as the country prepares to assume full security responsibility from ATMIS to pave the way for the agreed exit by 2024.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Norway, France, China, Albania, Ireland, Brazil, Russian Federation and the United Arab Emirates.

The meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 4:48 p.m.