Somaliland: The Former Prime Minister of Somalia statement in 2001

Hargeisa (HAN) October 23, 2014 – Public diplomacy and Regional Security and safety new – Re-published Statement by ” Prime Minister”  Dr. Ali Khalif Galayr, to the United Nations Security Council,  according to the current and future strategic issues in the horn of Africa.   Statement by “Prime Minister” Dr. Ali Khalif Galaydh, to the United Nations Security Council.

Professor Ali Khalif Galayr, Former Prime Minister of Somalia

Statement by “Prime Minister” Dr. Ali Khalif Galaydh, to the United Nations Security Council.

New York, New York

Thursday 11 January 2001

Mr. President,

At the outset, I wish to express to you our deep gratitude for affording us this rare opportunity today to be able to interact fully and openly with members of this body who, no doubt, are all familiar with my Country’s bitter and horrifying past with the United Nations; the long agony and suffering of the people – and; of course, the new optimism and hopes pervading the Somali society. For us, Mr. President, this occasion represents more than symbolic presence. It has far reaching importance, primarily signifying the rebirth of the Somali nation, and its return into the fold of the community of nations.

Mr. President,

This is the first time since the traumatic collapse of governance and law and order in Somalia a decade ago that a legitimate representative of that nation is in your midst today, thanks to the foresight and perseverance of the President Is mail Omar Guelleh and the people of Djibouti. It is unprecedented in the history of conflict resolution for a poor, small country, to undertake single-handedly, such a mammoth task for so long, under strenuous financial and logistical strain. Unfortunately, international material support that is readily available, under normal circumstances, to mediation efforts elsewhere, was conspicuously lacking, as the process was seen as yet another futile attempt. What was not comprehended, or fully appreciated, however, was that this process pursued an alternative, novel approach; in effect, challenging the conventional wisdom of peace-making in Somalia. The process was designed to embrace the whole Somali society, both inside and outside the country, every region and every clan. It was comprehensive, inclusive, transparent, “excluding no individual, group, sector or region.” It was a Somali-owned process, to say the least.

Mr. President,

The Secretary-General’s unwavering commitment and support to the peace process are deeply appreciated by our people. It is also important to extend our recognition to the extraordinary role played by the United Nations Political Office on Somalia (UNPOS), headed by Mr. David Stephen. We cannot thank enough the United Nations agencies, other organizations and individuals carrying out humanitarian activities in all regions of Somalia.

Similarly, this Council has been consistent in the reaffirmation of its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia, bearing in mind respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence and unity of Somalia. The Council repeatedly expressed its concern for the illicit delivery of weapons and military equipment to Somalia in violations of the arms embargo imposed by resolution 733 (1992) of 23 January 1992. To our dismay, however, this persistent call upon all states to observer the arms embargo and to refrain from any action which might exacerbate the situation seems to be falling on deaf ears, as I will elaborate on that later in my statement. Moreover, this Council keenly followed the progress of the peace process at Arta, Djibouti, and pronounced itself regularly, starting with its Statement of 12 November 1999, which, inter alia, stated:

“…… it welcomes the initiative of the President of Djibouti aimed at restoring peace and stability in Somalia. It recognizes the call by the president of Djibouti to the warlords to recognize fully and accepted the principle that the Somali people are free to exercise their democratic right to choose their own regional and national leaders.” And in its last major Statement of 29 June 2000, the Council urged the warlords and faction leaders to desist from obstructing and undermining efforts to achieve peace; and expressed further its readiness to consider taking appropriate steps regarding the warlords and faction leaders who engaged in such activities. It also urged States to stop providing these individuals with the means to carry on with their destructive activities. Sadly, destructive activities in Somalia are not only encouraged, but are fully supported externally by those opposed to the concept of a national government in Somalia. Their desire is quite obvious – the disintegration of Somalia into mini states that are weak and subject to external manipulation and pressure. The facts are on the ground: the hosting and arming of opposition forces are growing at an alarming rate. We are gravely concerned.

Mr. President,

The transitional national Government was conceived as an administration that fairly represents the people for Somalia, pursues peace and reconciliation, and protects individual rights, with liberty and justice for all, in accordance with the provision of the interim Constitution.

Our people have sustained life without a government for a long time, not by choice, but by the ruthlessness and vengeance of armed factions. Now, we are slowly but surely moving from the “law of the gun” to law and order, sanity and stability. Let no one be deluded though that the painful past would be healed in few months; it will take years. Nor would disarmament and “effective” security be achieved in a fortnight in a country where anarchy reigned so long, and particularly in the absence of a credible international material and political support. Whatever it takes, however, we are determined to overcome both internal and external resistance in order to restore hope and normalcy to the nation. We have no choice but to press on until we succeed.

Mr. President,

The current report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Somalia offers both an informative and comprehensive review of the sequence of events in the peace process at Arta, Djibouti, leading to the formation of national institutions, including a Transitional National Government (TNG). It provides full account of the goodwill missions the government sent abroad, particularly to the neighbouring countries; the regional and international organizations which Somalia rejoined and took its rightful place. It also confirms the relentless efforts of the new government toward improving security through the demobilization of militia. Indeed the report further recalls the request put to the Council by the President of Djibouti on 14 September 2000 on the need to establish a post-conflict peace-building mission for Somalia. While we share in general the concerns raised about security, we fail to understand, however, about the implication for a “100 per cent security guarantee” prior to proposing a mission.

This is tantamount to “zero tolerance” on security when it comes to Somalia, unlike other conflict situations in Africa and elsewhere. We believe this is not only an impossible conditionality, but encourages, perhaps unwittingly, those who are bent upon the perpetuation of violence and anarchy. Let me also be emphatic that there is only one single legal authority in Somalia – the one brought about through the will of the people.

There are administrative regions that have maintained relative peace and stability and the TNG is committed to engage the leadership of these administrative regions in constructive and peaceful dialogue. At this juncture it is important to note that the administrative regions are well represented in the government and parliament and that the majority of the people residing in the said regions are for the reconstituting of a united and democratic Somali State whose administrative and political arrangements reflect the demand for devolution, decentralization, justice and the rule of law. The TNG is equally committed to engage the groups who did not participate in Arta in peaceful dialogue. The TNG is willing to sit down and negotiate in good faith with those who are outside the Arta framework whenever they are ready. In case they opt not to enter into a constructive dialogue, national reconciliation and the aspiration of the Somali people for peace, stability and economic progress should not be held hostage by those who are opposed to peace.

Be that as it may, the TNG is committed to shoulder its responsibilities with respect to peace and security and I am here to renew once again the legitimate and general request for a post conflict peace-building mission in support of the crucial tasks ahead of us in the months and years to come. Without the material and political support by this Council, entrusted with the maintenance of international peace and security, Somalia cannot do it alone.

 

We are struggling on our own so far against formidable challenges; some imposed on us; some inherited – like an empty coffer, institutional paralysis, and proliferation of small arms in the hands of enemies of peace. Without a doubt, our biggest problem is demobilization of militia – how to collect their arms, and transform this lost generation into peaceful, decent and law abiding people. To be able to restore peace fully in Mogadishu, there is a need for rehabilitating at least twenty thousand militia members in and around the city. The government has so far been able to encamp about six thousand militias and former members of the police force. The task of reintegrating militias into the society entails financial burden – for providing basic and civil education, and vocational training. Progress in demobilization is vital if the Transitional Government is to be able to create a stable government for rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and basic services like healthcare, education, and the justice system.

The TNG has launched a program of re-establishing the police force in Mogadishu. Hundred policemen have been deployed for each station. Moreover, the government has succeeded in re-instituting the regional administration of Banadir region and the establishment of the municipal structure for the city. The re-establishing of these structures has resulted in the consolidation of law and order in the capital and its surroundings.

Mr. President,

Allow me to turn to an issue, which is causing us a great deal of concern. It pertains to our relations with Ethiopia. Our bilateral relations have not been models of good neighbourliness. We fought two wars and engaged in many border skirmishes over the past forty years. But since the collapse of the Somali State, Ethiopia has welcomed hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees. Ethiopia has been actively involved in the reconciliation and the search for peace among the Somali factions. Ethiopia has been supportive of IGAD initiative of Arta.

Because of the hosting of the refugees, the allowing of thousands who have transited via Addis Ababa, and the apparent support for bringing back peace and stability to Somalia, there has been a sea-change in the attitude of the Somali people towards Ethiopia. Truly positive and warm sentiments have been held and expressed by the great majority of Somalis. The expectation has been that once a Somali State was reconstituted there will be a historic opportunity to usher in a new era of solidarity, cooperation and mutual respect.

Soon after the completion of the Arte conference we heard of Ethiopian concerns about the presence of Islamic fundamentalists who posed a security threat to Ethiopia. We heard of Ethiopia holding firmly to the “Building Blocs” approach with respect to the continuation of the Arta peace process. We heard of Ethiopia being critical of our search for international recognition and legitimacy rather than focusing on engaging and accommodating those who were not part of Arta.

The expression of concerns, with good will, can be addressed and the reasonable advice of an important neighbour is to be given serious consideration. Two delegations, one led by President Abdiqasim Salad Hassan, and an envoy went to Addis Ababa to address the stated concerns of Ethiopia to focus on the re-establishing of relations and to explore the ways and means of building cooperative bilateral arrangements. Further, a delegation led by President Abdiqasim Salad Hassan participated in the IGAD Summit Conference in Khartoum and had extensive discussions with the Ethiopian leadership.

The TNG believes firmly that it has addressed the stated Ethiopian concerns adequately. Unfortunately our concerns which are becoming more and more serious are not being acknowledged let alone addressed. The facts on the ground are the following:

  1. Ethiopia has been occupying towns in the Gedo Region – Bulo Hawo, Dolo and Lugh – since 1996. The presence of Ethiopian forces has been increasing more recently and the civilian population is being subjected to systematic intimidation and detention. Fourteen prominent local personalities were the latest to be detained in the last few days;
  2. Contrary to Security Council resolutions Ethiopia is giving arms, ammunitions, and supplies to groups opposed to the TNG, including a group based in Mogadishu;
  3. Ethiopia is aggressively recruiting, training and arming militias in Gedo, Middle Juba, Lower Juba, Bay, Bakool and Hiran;
  4. In pursuing its “Building Blocs” policy, Ethiopia is orchestrating from Godey the creation of yet another administrative entity – the so-called South West State, and
  5. Ethiopia is carrying out a diplomatic and media campaign against Arta and the TNG.

Mr. President,

We believe that it is in Somalia’s interest to have good relations with Ethiopia. We believe that there is a need to contribute to the collective security and peace of the countries of the Horn. We believe that it is not yet too late to enter into serious discussion and to provide the vision, courage and creativity that our peoples, who have suffered enormously in the past two decades, are now demanding of the political leaders of the two countries. Somalia is ready to seize the present historic opportunity to establish and nurture an excellent relationship with out neighbour Ethiopia.

Mr. President,

To conclude, I am looking forward to your Presidential Statement on Somalia which will support the Arta outcome and the efforts of the TNG in issues pertaining to security, humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation and reconstruction. The withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, the putting in place of a Trust Fund and the despatch of a modest peace building mission to Somalia are the areas that need urgent action.

Thank you very much Mr. President and Your Excellencies for affording me this special opportunity to address you.

 

Photo: Former head of the SSC Leadership Dr. Saleban Xaglatosiye (The current Somaliland minister of Health) with Dr. Ali Khalif Galayr


 

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The Geeska Afrika Online is Free government-funded. HAN (Horn of Africa newsline) shapes its editorial policy free from political and commercial influence.


 

The latest updates Follow twitter.com/GeskaAfrika

Geeska Afrika Online (1985 -2014) – The International Gateway news and views about the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Somaliland, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda), the best IGAD news and information Online Site for the last 20 Years.

HAN & Geeska Afrika Online (1985-2014), the oldest free independent Free Press in the region, brings together top journalists from across the Horn of Africa. Including Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, Djibouti, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya, Oromo, Amhara, Somali, Afar and Harari. Plus, we have daily translations from 150 major news organizations in the Middle East and East African regions. Contact at news@geeskaafrika.com

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