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Posted by on Aug 10, 2011 in VOW - Somali Women

Statement by SRSG Mahiga to the Security Council

Statement by SRSG Mahiga to the Security Council
10 August 2011

Mr. President,
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to brief
members of the Security Council on the latest
developments in the Somalia peace process. I would also
like to thank the Council for its continued support to
the peace process in Somalia. This is a moment both of
great challenge and of great opportunity for Somalia and
the international community. At this historic juncture I
am particularly gratified to be addressing you again from
Mogadishu. Today I have just met with the leadership of
the TFIs and the Mogadishu business community to discuss
how we can work together and to reinforce our shared
commitment to a peaceful and stable Somalia.
The humanitarian situation in Somalia and in the
region in general is uppermost in our minds. The scale of
human suffering is immense and the international
community is mobilizing and trying and meet this
remarkable challenge. Recent security developments in
Mogadishu, which have unfolded at breathtaking speed,
have likewise provided us with a unique opportunity and a
set of very grave risks. There is a chance for real
progress, if we can mobilize the support necessary to
capitalize on this moment.

Mr. President,
On the political side, we have reached a critical
juncture as well. The signing on 9 June 2011 of the
Kampala Accord by President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of
the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Sharif
Hassan Sheikh Adan, Speaker of the Transitional Federal
Parliament (TFP), ended a five month political stalemate
between the Executive and the Legislature on the way
forward. By deferring the elections for one year and
providing for the establishment of a road-map with clear
benchmarks, timelines and compliance mechanisms for the
implementation of priority transitional tasks, the
Kampala Accord set us on a new forward trajectory in the
peace process.

I am also encouraged by the timely manner in which
the Accord has been implemented so far. In a show of
statesmanship, former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi 2
Mohamed resigned his post on 19 June, twenty days ahead
of the deadline provided for in the Accord. His
successor, Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed, was
overwhelmingly endorsed by Parliament on 28 June, five
days after his appointment by President Sheikh Sharif
Ahmed.

On 11 July, the Parliament overwhelmingly endorsed
the Kampala Accord, in effect rescinding its three year
extension to conform with the one year extension of the
government. On 20 July, the new Prime Minister appointed
a new Cabinet of 18 ministers. I am heartened to note
that all of these developments have taken place ahead of
the time-lines envisioned in the Accord.

Mr. President,
This is a critical moment in the Somali peace
process and for Somalia itself. We are beginning the
substantive work of implementing the Road-map, which
outlines the key tasks to be accomplished in the next 12
months. This phase will begin with the adoption of the
Road-map at a Consultative Meeting on Ending the
Transition in Somalia, which, after some unfortunate
delays, will now be held in Mogadishu from 4 to 6
September 2011. The UNPOS chaired Preparatory Committee
is completing its work. This morning the Committee
discussed the details at a meeting here in Mogadishu
chaired by the Prime Minister and held in the presence of
the newly appointed Cabinet. The adoption of the Road-map
will give the people of Somalia much-needed ownership of
the process and will send a clear signal that real
political progress is finally within our grasp.
The unequivocal support and attention of the
international community in this time of crisis will be
especially crucial to solidify and guarantee the progress
already achieved. The international community must be
ready to provide tangible support to the political as
well as the humanitarian and security tracks. At the same
time we will put in place a high level regional
initiative to monitor compliance and make it clear to the
TFIs that there will be consequences for obstruction and
inaction.

Mr. President,
The recent and unexpected withdrawal of the AlShabaab insurgent group from Mogadishu is likewise a
significant event that presents both opportunities and 3
great challenges. For the first time in years the TFG has
the prospect of exercising authority over the whole of
Mogadishu. This is a welcome development which, if
managed effectively, will expedite political gains as
well as the delivery of much needed humanitarian
assistance to the thousands of Internally Displaced
Persons who have traveled to Mogadishu in a desperate
attempt to escape the devastating famine.

Although Al-Shabaab has described the retreat as
only a tactical manoeuvre, the truth remains that AlShabaab has been compelled to retreat from Mogadishu.
Here I pay tribute to the forces of the TFG and the
African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for their hard
work and sacrifice in pushing back the insurgents. The
withdrawal by Al-Shabaab is a culmination of a number of
factors, including the pressure which these forces have
steadily brought to bear on the insurgents. But here it
is vital to highlight that significant dangers remain as
well. The TFG and AMISOM both have limited resources to
exploit the opportunity presented by the withdrawal of
Al-Shabaab. Pockets of Al Shabaab remain in Mogadishu,
the security situation remains precarious and the
insurgents are likely to resort to terrorist attacks and
guerilla tactics targeting the TFG and AMISOM forces and,
unfortunately, even Internally Displaced Persons and
other civilians.

Mr. President,
The insurgents’ sudden withdrawal from Mogadishu and
the rapid spread of famine has radically changed our
planning horizon. Events we had anticipated coming to
pass in a year or 18 months are happening right now. It
is central, in this regard, for the TFIs to remain united
and coherent and to put in place basic administrative
structures and promote law and order in areas under their
control. Without immediate action to fill this gap, a
real danger exists that the warlords and their militia
groups will move forward to fill the vacuum created by
Al-Shabaab’s departure. The TFG should immediately assume
a coordination role in order to bring local militia under
its authority.

We also must encourage and assist the revival of the
economic activities in Mogadishu especially in Bakaara
market, the beating commercial heart of the city which as
recently as last week was under the control of the
insurgents. As I said I met today with a group of Somali
business leaders and I was very encouraged by what I 4
heard. They are ready to do their part and we should
help.

I am pleased to inform the Council that the TFG’s
National Security Council (NSC) met and created a
“Mogadishu Security Plan”, through which the Government
is defining its priorities, including its resource
requirements. The plan calls for the Somali Police Force
(SPF), rather than its military personnel, to occupy the
areas vacated by the insurgents. I call on the
international community to expedite building the
capacities of the Somalia Police Force to allow these
institutions to protect, inter alia, the increasing
number of Internally Displaced Persons in Mogadishu. As
the Somali police deploy in the recently recovered areas,
we must expedite the deployment of AMISOM police
personnel and equipment, so that they complement the
efforts of the Somali police in protecting civilians and
promoting the rule of law.

Mr. President,
In UNPOS, we are adjusting to respond to the new
situation and to meet these new challenges. We originally
had anticipated that Mogadishu would be stabilized within
roughly a year, but we are now revising our planning to
focus on the immediate. We are now actively planning for
an expanded UN presence inside Somalia, rather than the
‘light footprint’ we had envisaged. It is thus mission
critical that we secure the logistical support, including
a fast-tracked construction of permanent facilities to
pave the way for the deployment of additional staff in
Somalia, particularly in Mogadishu. An additional guard
force, under AMISOM command but dedicated to providing
protection and facilitating movement for UN staff in
Mogadishu is also a vital and immediate requirement. I
ask the Council to seriously consider bringing forward
the proposed guard force with the resources that are
available and all that it entails in order to ensure that
AMISOM can successfully meet these new challenges and
adapt to the new reality on the ground in Mogadishu.
Central to our strategy will be the augmentation of
AMISOM’s capabilities including personnel, logistics,
mobility, aviation and UXO disposal. The force is now
being asked to perform a series of additional complex
tasks, such as protection of Internally Displaced
Persons, consolidation of vacated positions and
facilitation of humanitarian assistance. The AMISOM Force
Commander faces a dilemma over the deployment of his
forces to a much larger area of operation without the key 5
enablers or the full complement of the Security Councilauthorized troop ceiling. Significantly, additional
demands from the humanitarian community to protect and
assist with the delivery of humanitarian aid also stretch
the mission’s limited resources.

Significant gaps in the UN support package to AMISOM
still exist. The force requires adequate, predictable and
sustainable funding to cover self sustainment, which
includes the most basic, yet essential, life support
items and services integral to support all peace
operations. I appeal to the Council to consider expanding
the support package for AMISOM to cover some of the
critical categories of self sustainment and to look at
the issue of funding of contingent-owned equipment (COE).

Mr. President,
I am gravely concerned–as we all are–by the
humanitarian tragedy that is unfolding before our eyes.
Nearly half of the Somali population, 3.7 million people,
are now directly at risk due to the famine. Tens of
thousands have already perished. Most of the most
vulnerable reside in the south of the country. As our
humanitarian partners had predicted, famine is further
spreading in south and central Somalia and other regions
are now designated famine zones. In parts of Lower
Shabelle and in the settlements of the Internally
Displaced Persons (Internally Displaced Persons) in and
around Mogadishu, more than 13 out of 10,000 children
under five years old die every day as a result of
malnutrition and famine-related diseases. This means that
10 percent of children under five are dying every 11
weeks. These figures are truly heart-wrenching—I hope we
can collectively view them as nothing less than call to
immediate action.

And indeed, it is not too late to act. Every day
counts. I strongly urge you, members of the Council, to
appeal to your own governments and to the international
community to generously support the humanitarian relief
operation currently underway in Somalia. We need
approximately US$1 billion for Somalia, channeled through
our Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP), to avert a further
worsening of this emergency. So far, we have received
less than 50 percent of this sum. Our humanitarian
partners are working tirelessly and stand ready to
further scale up their operations. However, our efforts
must focus on reaching all of those in urgent need whereever they are in Somalia. I appeal to all opposition
groups in Somalia to lay down their arms, join the peace 6
process and allow aid agencies to access all Somalis in
dire need of assistance.

As I have said a number of times, this is an
extraordinary moment for Somalia. There is both great
opportunity for progress and huge risks and challenges to
be overcome. Now is the time for the international
community to demonstrate its commitment and step forward
and support the process robustly and immediately on all
fronts. The Somali people simply cannot wait any longer.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Cora Weiss Paper At 54 UN CSW (17.2 KiB)