13 June 2013 The new United Nations envoy for Somalia arrived today in Somaliland, which he said has remained “an island of relative peace and stability” and could provide lessons for peace consolidation throughout the wider region.
“We are…here to learn and to support initiatives that will lead to sustainable peace, stability and prosperity in Somalia and beyond,” said Nicholas Kay, head of the new UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) as he arrived in Hargeisa, Somaliland this morning.
In his first visit to the region since assuming his duties as head of the Mission on 3 June, he met with President Ahmed Mahamed Mohamud (Silaanyo) and officials of the Somaliland Administration.
He was received by Dr. Mohamed Abdillahi Omar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, who accompanied Mr. Kay to the mass graves in Hargeisa, in commemoration of the worst human rights violations of the Siyad Barre regime, which occurred between 1984 and 1988.
On his arrival, he said: “I have come to Hargeisa early in my new assignment in order to make it clear to the authorities and people of Somaliland that the United Nations supports their aspirations for peace and prosperity.”
“Somaliland has remained an island of relative peace and stability in an insecure region and we believe that there are lessons that can be learned here about stabilizing the whole region,” he continued, noting Somaliland’s efforts to strengthen democratic institutions and to entrench democracy through holding periodic elections.
“We are also aware of the challenges that Somaliland faces in institutionalizing a formal system of justice alongside the traditional one and we look forward to working together to reinforce the rule of law,” Mr. Kay said, stressing that the Mission stood ready to support constructive engagement between Somalia and Somaliland.
Noting that this was the first of many visits to Somaliland and that he intends to have a close and fruitful relationship with its people and authorities of the region, he said the UNSOM office in Hargeisa will be proactively engaging the administration and civil society to explore areas of further cooperation.
The mandate of UNSOM is to support the building of national capacity, peacebuilding, with a focus on good governance, security sector reform, rule of law, human rights, providing “good offices” for mediation and political reconciliation and coordination of international assistance.
Meanwhile, the Security Council was briefed this afternoon by Assistant Secretary-General Tayé-Brooke Zerihoun on the situation in the Juba regions of Somalia.
Following those closed door talks, Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom, which holds the Council’s presidency for the month, read out a statement expressing Council members’ concern at the deterioration in the security situation in the Juba regions, particularly in Kismayo, and at the resulting impact on the civilian population and the humanitarian situation.
“The Members of the Security Council called on all parties to refrain from any action which may threaten peace and stability in the Juba regions and to engage with the Federal Government of Somalia in a constructive manner to achieve a peaceful resolution to the current crisis and to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation,” he said.
Further, Council members underlined their support for the development of an effective federal system of Government, in line with the Provisional Constitution and in respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia, in order to ensure a constructive and sincere partnership between the Somali Government and local and regional administrations.
“The members of the Security Council welcomed the commitment of the Federal Government of Somalia to lead reconciliation efforts in the Juba regions with the support of UNSOM, IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] and other appropriate actors,” he said, adding that Council members urged that this be taken forward expeditiously.
Security Council members underlined the availability of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to assist the Government of Somalia in peacefully resolving the situation.
They also underlined the importance of the issues in the Juba regions not distracting from the urgent need to end the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and bring, security and prosperity to the Somali people, the overwhelming majority of whom are committed to peace through dialogue.
“In that context, the members of the Council underscored their support for AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia] and reiterated their willingness to take action against those who undermine the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia,” the Council president concluded.
Somalia: With clashes reported in port city, UN political mission chief calls for immediate end to fighting
8 June 2013 The head of the new United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) called today for an immediate end to fighting in the southern port city of Kismaayo, where clashes have reportedly led to civilian deaths.
“I urge all parties to commit to resolve differences peacefully. I deplore reports of the loss of civilian life, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, declared today in a press statement.
According to unconfirmed reports, clashes that flared in Kismaayo yesterday reignited today. Through his statement, Mr. Kay called for the fighting to cease immediately. This new chapter in Somalia’s history must be one in which issues are resolved peacefully.
More violence will only prolong the suffering of Somalis and delay the revival they and the international community are working for, the statement added.
Mr. Kay, who took up his post just five days ago, noted that the UNSOM, as the UN Security Council recently reiterated, will play a constructive role in resolving political difficulties of any kind in close consultation with all parties in Somalia and the region. I am engaging immediately on this issue.
The statement says that the Mission chief discussed his concerns with Somali President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud today, during their first official meeting in Mogadishu, where UNSOM is headquartered.
They both called for the convening of a reconciliation conference as soon as possible, as IGAD Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Heads of State have proposed.
6 June 2013 While welcoming recent progress in Somalia, the Security Council today recognized that gains in security and other sectors ‘remain fragile’ and urged the international community to support the efforts of the Somali Government to tackle outstanding issues vital for the country’s long-term stability.
In a statement adopted at a meeting on Somalia chaired by Mark Simmonds, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, which holds the Council’s presidency for the month, the 15-member body underlined the importance of international support to the Somali Federal Government in building a professional, accountable and capable security force as part of a comprehensive approach to security sector reform.
The Council also reiterated the importance of the Government addressing outstanding issues, such as political reconciliation, development of a federal system, the constitutional review and subsequent referendum process, and preparations for elections in 2016. The Council also reiterated its call for the full inclusion of women in all political process.
Members of the Council emphasized the need for the international community to provide well coordinated, timely and sustained humanitarian assistance “to the millions of Somalis who remain in urgent need of lifesaving support; and development assistance with a focus on livelihood recovery and building community resilience to support [the country’s] transition to sustainable peace and economic development.’
In his briefing to the Council, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson echoed many of those sentiments, as he stressed that dialogue among all Somali partners and continuous support from the international community are the only way to ensure unity and a sound federal structure in the long-troubled country.
“Realizing a federal State in Somalia is a complex and demanding task,” he said, adding: “[Issues] related to the unity and federalism of Somalia can only be resolved through dialogue among the Somalis themselves. This requires patience and pragmatism on all sides.”
Somalia has been torn asunder by factional fighting since 1991 but has recently made progress towards stability. In 2011, Islamist Al-Shabaab insurgents retreated from Mogadishu and last year new Government institutions emerged, as the country ended a transitional phase toward setting up a permanent, democratically-elected Government.
“Eight months since its formation, the Federal Government of Somalia has established its political programme and presented plans for stabilization and peace-building,” Mr. Eliasson noted, but added that recent tensions in Kismayo following the declaration of a regional state in April must be addressed immediately to sustain progress.
On 15 May, 500 delegates to a conference in Kismayo selected a president of what was called ‘Jubaland State of Somalia’, which the Government regards as unconstitutional. Since then, six other candidates have declared themselves president of the new entity.
“While there have so far been no reports of military confrontation, the situation remains volatile,” Mr. Eliasson said, adding that Somalia will need the support of its partners and neighbours to maintain stability the country.
“There is agreement that a strong and stable Somalia is in the interests of all. This recognition should guide regional efforts to address outstanding issues and potential sources of friction.”
Mr. Eliasson said the recently established UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) would help the Government meet this challenge by supporting political dialogue, peacebuilding and the protection of human rights.
“UNSOM has already set up its Headquarters in Mogadishu and will establish its presence across the country, notably in areas recovered from Al-Shabaab, as well as in Garowe and Hargeisa,” he said. “UNSOM will be an integrated Mission, offering ‘one door to knock on’ for Somalia’s engagement with the United Nations.”
He also highlighted the need for both UNSOM and the Government to work jointly with the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) to ensure security and freedom of movement in the region.
Created in 2007, AMISOM conducts peace support operations in Somalia to stabilize the situation in the country to create conditions for the conduct of humanitarian activities.
“As in so many countries across the continent, partnership of the UN with the African Union is vital to reaching our objectives in Somalia,” he said.
“With the deployment of UNSOM, we will work together on political strategy, peace-building and stabilization, as well as protection of human rights. The new Mission’s impact will also depend on effective security arrangements in close collaboration with AMISOM,” Mr. Eliasson added, and called on the Council to ensure AMISOM has the necessary resources to carry out its operations.
Mr. Eliasson underlined that over the long-term, Somalia must assume its own responsibilities through accountable and effective security institutions.
“This requires a well-funded and coordinated strategic approach,” he said, welcoming the recent pledges of support of more than $300 million which made at the London Conference on Somalia in May.
“Somalia will require sustained and generous international support to continue on the path of progress. This means a clear commitment to the Federal Government to rapidly develop its plans and build its capacities,” he added.
The Deputy Secretary-General reiterated the UN’s engagement in the country in its new phase, and called on the Council to provide its full support to UNSOM, as well as resources so that the Mission can carry out its mandate.
“I call on all to come together in support of the new Government in its efforts to bring peace and stability to the people of Somalia. The Secretary-General and I firmly believe that with the continuous support and firm commitment of its partners, Somalia can achieve its vision: a country in unity and at peace with itself and its neighbours, living under the rule of law, and on the path to economic stability and decent living conditions for all.