Reading the latest Briefing by the UN's special envoy to Somalia, Nicholas Kay, I couldn't help wondering who really calls the shots in that country....
United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM)
Briefing to the Security Council by Ambassador Nicholas Kay, Special
Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia
11 March 2014
Madam President, Members of the Council
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to brief
the Council from Mogadishu today, and for your continued support to Somalia’s
peace-building and state-building. I am on the ground in Mogadishu and not with
you in New York due to the intensity of events at this moment. I hope you
The best hope for peace and stability in Somalia, the Horn of Africa and
beyond remains a united, secure and federal Somalia. This is achievable.
Somalia can reach its goal of an agreed constitution, a nation-wide electoral
process and increased security by 2016. But times are tough, and in the short
term may get tougher. Insecurity in Mogadishu poses challenges for Somalis, the
UN and the international community. 2014 is a crucial year. It is marked, I
would say, by security and political challenges, which will be overcome if the
Federal Government of Somalia and international partners remain united and if
both accelerate delivery of their mutual commitments.
As I speak, an expanded AMISOM and the Somali National Army (SNA) are
prosecuting a renewed offensive against Al Shabaab, made possible by UN
Security Council Resolution 2124. It will be the most significant and
geographically extensive military advance since AMISOM started, and there have
already been notable successes. I pay tribute to the commitment and sacrifices
made by AMISOM and its police and troop contributing states. Under Ambassador
Annadif’s 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. Ethiopian troops were officially incorporated into AMISOM
earlier this year. The UN has played its part in preparing for the new
operations. Supplies of food, fuel and water were stockpiled by the UN Support
Office for AMISOM (UNSOA) in all sectors in advance of the operations. UNSOA
and UNSOM have been supporting the training of Somali National Army troops.
This includes training in human rights and humanitarian law, in accordance with
the Secretary-General’s Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.
As you will be aware, in Mogadishu the security situation has deteriorated
since the last time I briefed the Council in December. A suicide attack carried
out on a UN convoy, a complex suicide attack against the Presidential compound
in Villa Somalia, and another suicide attack near the National Intelligence
headquarters, all in the month of February, are sharp reminders. The risk of
further attacks against Somali government and international targets remains high.
The Federal Government and AMISOM have increased their security operations
in the city and the Government has developed a new Mogadishu security strategy.
I look forward to its early implementation and I hope international partners
will actively support it and respond rapidly to requests from the Government.
The UN has taken measures to improve its own security. Planning for the UN
Guard Unit, endorsed in February by the Council to protect UN personnel and
facilities in Mogadishu, is underway, with the first deployments expected in
April. I take this opportunity to thank the Council and the Government of
Uganda for their support in establishing the Guard Unit. I would also like to
thank AMISOM for their cooperation in facilitating its deployment.
Vital though they are, military operations alone will not achieve
sustainable peace-building and state-building. The Government has established a
framework for the stabilisation of areas that will become accessible as a
result of these operations, including the establishment of interim local
administrations. UNSOM has been working closely with partners to support this.
As AMISOM and the Somali National Army begin their offensive, we are all
conscious of the need to uphold humanitarian principles and respect for
international humanitarian law. We also need resources. I urge donors and
partners to contribute to the trust fund for the supply of non-lethal support
to the Somali National Army in line with resolution 2124. Such UN support for a
national army is groundbreaking, and requires our collective effort and
determination to succeed.
Developing strong, professional Somali security forces is essential.
Progress is being made, but it is made harder by the continuing insecurity and
conflict. UNSOM’s work on security sector reform continues. We are, for
example, taking some practical steps such as supporting biometric registration
and the provision of uniforms. We plan to support the Somali Police Force’s
recruitment of 2,300 additional police officers in 2014. Somalia’s security
institutions need urgently to be properly funded. I hope that international
partners will work with UNSOM, AMISOM and the Federal Government to work out
how to do this in a timely and effective manner.
I am pleased also to report that in February the European Union training
mission began its training programmes inside Somalia. This is a significant
step that deserves our recognition.
Achieving greater security is a vital task for 2014. But the political dimension
of state-building and peace-building is equally vital this year. After nearly
three months of negotiation, Somalia now has a new Federal Government under the
leadership of Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed. The Cabinet contains
experienced and technocratic Ministers whose workplans are built around the
priorities identified in the New Deal Compact. On 24 February, President Hassan
Sheikh Mohamud and I co-chaired, in Mogadishu, the first meeting of the
High-Level Partnership Forum, the body overseeing the implementation of the
Compact. The Forum concluded that now was the time for both the Government and
international partners to convert plans into actions, pledges into tangible
projects and to make real political progress. I am pleased to report that as we
meet, the Federal Government is finalising a detailed plan and timetable for a
process leading to the formation of Federal States, a final Constitution and
democratisation by 2016. I expect this timetable, called broadly Vision 2016,
will have concrete and realistic deliverables, to be published in the coming
weeks following further consultation with stakeholders, including Puntland and
the Interim Jubba Administration. The UN stands ready to play a central role in
supporting its implementation.
Strengthened public financial management is another pillar of
state-building. Following the resignation of the former Central Bank Governor
in November 2013, the Government has made progress towards rebuilding national
and international confidence in its financial institutions. A key step has been
the establishment of a Financial Governance Committee, involving experts from
the government and international financial institutions to advise on financial
management. Alongside other key measures, the Federal Government has agreed to
share the existing strategic concession contracts with the Committee for
technical review and expert advice. Improved transparency and accountability
are critical steps in initiating aid flows. The World Bank, I should note, has been
intrepid in supporting on the ground the progress we are beginning to see.
The formation of Federal States needs to be accelerated. I said the same in
my briefing to you in December. It is even more true today.
In Baidoa, in south west Somalia, the gulf between two rival camps,
advocating a six- and three-region state respectively, remains wide. On the 3rd
of March, I called on all parties to respect the Constitution and existing
agreements of the Federal Government and to resolve disputes through inclusive
dialogue. I continue to offer UNSOM’s good offices to support a Federal
Government-led process. The Government has clearly stated its commitment to a
three region state, a position that should be respected.
In Southern Somalia, the formation of the Interim Jubba Administration
continued with the announcement of ministerial positions on the 20th
of February. There have been positive steps towards reconciliation and
inclusivity. But the full implementation of the 28 August Addis Ababa Agreement
requires continued engagement and compromise. I salute the efforts of Ethiopia
as Chair of the Council of Ministers of IGAD and guarantor of the Addis Ababa
agreement. UNSOM is working with the Federal Government, the Interim Jubba
Administration and partners to mobilise resources to manage an increased
caseload of disengaged combatants in Kismayo and to take forward reconciliation
To the north, in Puntland, on 8th
of January I witnessed, along with
several members of the international community, the election of President
Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas and the peaceful handover by former President
Abdurahman Mohamed Farole. UNSOM supported critical mediation efforts in the
run-up to the elections and advocated, among other things, for greater women’s
political participation. I am encouraged by the new Government’s commitment to
resumption of Puntland’s suspended democratisation process and the restoration
of relations with the Federal Government of Somalia. President Gaas has
highlighted the difficult budget situation and the shortage of funds to pay
salaries of Puntland government officials, including security forces. I hope
that donor efforts to find an interim solution will bear fruit.
I am also inspired by the vigour and enthusiasm of Somali women’s political
advocacy. Twenty-three women’s organisations from South-Central Somalia and
Puntland have established the Somali Women Leadership Initiative to campaign
for increased political participation of women. UNSOM remains firmly committed
to enhancing women’s participation in national decision-making. Encouragingly
in Puntland, President Abdiweli Gaas appointed five women to cabinet, more than
any of his predecessors.
Promotion and respect for human rights is at the core of UNSOM’s support to
the Federal Government. We have been working with both AMISOM and the Somali
National Army to provide training on human rights, international humanitarian
law and refugee law. A Joint Working Group on human rights due diligence, which
includes AMISOM, UNSOA and UNSOM has been established. I hope that in the near
future it will also include the Federal Government. The consultative process to
create a National Human Rights Commission is still delayed against a background
of sustained attacks against human rights defenders and journalists and the
continued application of the death penalty. I am also deeply concerned about
the ongoing incidence of sexual violence in Somalia. I look forward to the implementation
of the recommendations of the Team of Experts on Sexual Violence established
under Council Resolution 1888 (2009). The Team of Experts visited Somalia in
Despite significant humanitarian crises around the world and within the
region, I believe Somalia must remain a priority. The country’s humanitarian
crisis is among the largest and most complex in the world. An estimated 2.9
million people will need immediate life-saving and livelihood support in the
next six months. Recent improvements in the humanitarian situation are fragile
and risk reversal if the current trend of low and slow funding for the 2014
humanitarian appeal continues.
There have been reports recently also of displacement as a result of the
fighting, especially in Bay and Bakol. As of the 9th
of March some
3,700 newly displaced people arrived in Baidoa, mainly due to fear of attacks.
As of today they have all started receiving shelter and household items. We
also had reports of some 700 previously displaced families that have returned
to Hudur after it was recaptured by Somali National Army and AMISOM forces.
Humanitarian access due to the volatile security situation remains a major
challenge. Humanitarian partners are working to determine urgent needs and how
to best respond.
On the 10th
of December last year a tripartite agreement was
signed between the governments of Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR for the voluntary
repatriation of Somali refugees in Kenya. But conditions in Somalia are not yet
conducive for wide-scale refugee return. Without sufficient preparation, mass
returns could in fact cause instability and worsen the humanitarian situation
in the country.
As a result of changes in its legislation, in December 2013, the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia began deporting Somali nationals as well as other migrant workers.
It is estimated that more than 22,000 have returned to Somalia so far. The
International Organisation for Migration expects as many as an additional
33,000 people could be deported in the next three months. Such an influx to
Mogadishu could exacerbate the plight of the internally displaced in the
Progress in Somalia has been mixed so far, but it is progress. We still have
a long way to go. The targets which the Federal Government has set itself, in
partnership with the international community, remain relevant and feasible.
National reconciliation, federalism, the conclusion of the constitutional
process and the rebuilding of security institutions are critical. Despite setbacks
and delays, none of these tasks remain out of our collective reach. But time is
of the essence. The time for action is now.
To conclude, Somalia and Somalis desperately need improved security. I
firmly believe this can be achieved, but it requires a collective effort.
Secondly, national reconciliation must be fast-tracked. The establishment of
Federal States is critical to the creation of a cohesive and effective federal
structure in Somalia. Reconciliation efforts must continue, and will be an
additional tool in the fight against the enemies of peace. Legislation to set
the constitutional and electoral processes in motion must be must enacted.
Finally, I urge the international community to continue to provide the
support necessary to build the Federal Government’s capacity to undertake the
significant work that remains. Somalis need to see and feel the benefit of
increasing peace and security. We need to convert good plans into more concrete
assistance, or as a Somali proverb says “A sweet hand is better than a sweet
mouth”. The Federal Government is frustrated with the slow delivery of tangible
assistance. A country broken from decades of conflict has huge needs. Not all
can or will be met quickly, especially while conflict continues. But I wonder
if together we could not achieve some faster success in rebuilding Somalia’s
As friends and partners of Somalia, we need to stay the course. Now is not
the time to prevaricate. We have to be prepared for setbacks, but remain
resolute. After nearly a quarter of a century of wars, state collapse and
immense human suffering, Somalis are determined to build a lasting peace. They
need and deserve our continued support.
I thank you very much.
Get updates from UNSOM: