MOGADISHU (HAN) November 14, 2015. Public Diplomacy & regional Security. Noting that the conduct of the 2016 elections in Somalia would consolidate the federalist approach, the governments of Nigeria, United States, France, United Kingdom, Russia and others yesterday urged the country to commit to an inclusive legitimate and peaceful process.
Making this plea during a briefing of the United Nations Security Council where they unanimously approved changes to the United Nations mission in Somalia, speakers from the countries said the composition of the Independent Elections Commission and appointment of its chair were great achievements.
In her briefing, Nigerian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Professor Joy Uche Ogwu, said the formation of federal states and consolidation of regional interim administrators were examples of Somalia’s “significant” progress. She commended AMISOM and the Somali National Army in fighting Al-Shabaab and supported the Juba Corridor operation in that context.
Indeed, efforts by AMISOM and the Somali National Army must be consolidated to forestall that group’s resurgence, through the development of a coordinated stabilization strategy, she said.
Noting the government’s efforts to build a more integrated, accountable security sector, Ogwu urged for more attention to be paid to creating a national security architecture just as she welcomed the International Monetary Fund’s consultation mission, the first in 25 years, she expressed hope that there would be progress in the area of debt forgiveness.
Speaking for the United States, Ambassador Samantha Power said that at the end of August, Mogadishu had experienced something it had never experienced before, namely an international book fair with thousands from Somalia and abroad attending. She added that more than half of the books that had been sold had been written by women, which had demonstrated how much had changed in Mogadishu.
“That change was real. Although Al-Shabaab continued to assault Somalia, there had been security and economic gains. The focus of the international community must now be to sustain momentum on improving security and improving accountability. The territory Al-Shabaab had controlled was shrinking, but its strikes had demonstrated that it was not defeated. That goal would require continued partnership between the United Nations and the African Union” she said.
Welcoming the commitment to hold elections in 2016, Samantha Power said the process should be free and fair, representing the will of the Somali people, including internally displaced persons and refugees.
In his own briefing, the Council President for the month of November and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, United Kingdom, Mr. Philip Hammond, recalled that it was only four years ago that Al-Shabaab had controlled major cities, including Mogadishu, and 2010 alone had seen 174 pirate attacks.
On the security front, he urged the implementation of the President’s commitment to major security sector reform. “For its part, the United Kingdom would continue to deploy military, logistical and training expertise in support of AMISOM” he said.
Furthermore, the UK official said that In 2016, a credible electoral process would be critical, without which international support — and Somalis’ right to hold their leaders accountable — could be undermined.
While speaking, Alexi Lamek of France said the resolution had reshaped the logistical support mandate, with a goal of greater operational effectiveness. “These modifications were necessary,” he said, noting that international efforts, particularly by the African Union, were paying off but could be reversed.
Welcoming the government’s agreement on a federal arrangement and the creation of regional administrations, he said elections in 2016 should provide the government indisputable authority in bringing about peace and development.
In his own view, Peter Iliichev of the Russian Federation, shared the Secretary-General’s assessment of UNSOM’s work, stressing that the Mission was acting against the backdrop of a humanitarian crisis and terrorist attacks by Al-Shabaab while being a participant in the political process.
He added that the tense military situation required increased efforts to fight Al-Shabaab through strengthening AMISOM, noting that it would require an increase in United Nations material and technical support.
He voiced concern about that Al-Shabaab’s coordination with groups such as Boko Haram and Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, citing offensives in Ethiopia and Djibouti.