General Assembly Security Council

UN Security Council Briefing on Somalia

(22 February 2021)

 

Statement

by

Ambassador T.S. Tirumurti

Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations

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Thank you, Madam President.

 

At the outset, I would like to thank SRSG James Swan, Head of AMISOM Fransisco Madiera and Ms. Rita Laranjinha of European External Action Service for their briefings on the recent developments in Somalia.

 

Before I begin, I would like to join others in extending our condolences to the families of the victims of the suicide bombing near the Parliament building and the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu a week ago, and also the lives that were lost during the clashes last week.

 

Madam President,

 

2. Being a member of the Security Council during the early years of its being seized of the situation in Somalia almost three decades ago, and having played an important role earlier in the UN Mission in the country, India is aware of the efforts that the Council has put in over the years for securing lasting peace and stability in Somalia. During the last decade, thanks to the security provided by AMISOM and the critical roles played by the AU and the UNSOM, Somalia has made steady progress towards national reconciliation and state building, despite several shortcomings and setbacks.

 

3. Today, Somalia is yet again facing a political deadlock, which is threatening the progress achieved in recent years towards attaining stabilization. The political impasse over the holding of elections is indeed disappointing. It has been more than 5 months since the signing of the agreement on September 17 last year. Contrary to our expectations, the meeting between the leaders of the Federal Member States and the Federal Government of Somalia planned at first for 15 February and then 18-19 February did not take place. It is important that Somali leaders engage in constructive dialogue to resolve the issues that are delaying the holding of elections. We welcome the 16 February announcement that the Technical Committee representing the Federal Government and the Federal Member States identified solutions to outstanding electoral issues and that these have been submitted to the National Consultative Council. We now expect an early decision of the leaders towards holding of elections soon. We also urge all Somalis not to resort to violence during this important transition and to encourage dialogue and reconciliation with full involvement of women in the electoral process as well.

 

4. There is little doubt that the longer it takes to hold elections, the more complicated the situation will become. The delay will only embozden Al-shabaab and other armed groups to gain more ground and continue their terror acts, subverting the democratic gains made so far.

 

5. The frequency of terror attacks perpetrated by Al-shabaab over the last few months is a matter of serious concern. Last week’s suicide bombing in Mogadishu reflects the fragile security situation in the country. We strongly condemn these terror attacks. We are also concerned at the increased use of IEDs by Al-Shabaab and call for extending support to Somali Security Forces in building their capacity to tackle this menace.

 

Madam President,

 

6. AMISOM has been playing a key role in containing Al-Shabaab in Somalia for several years now. AMISOM remains the rallying point of the international community’s efforts for stabilization of the security situation in the country. We commend all AMISOM troop and police contributing countries for their commitment and for the sacrifices they have made.   

 

7.       We have taken note of the recommendations made in the SG’s Independent Assessment report in January this year. We are also encouraged by the priorities and guideposts laid down in the revised Somali Transition Plan. However, Somali security forces and institutions need continued support to tackle Al Shabaab and other armed groups. We believe that the transition of security responsibilities from AMISOM to Somali security forces should be carefully calibrated, keeping in mind the ground realities. A hasty withdrawal will nullify the progress achieved so far. We also believe that the extension of AMISOM mandate should not be limited by the current constraints of funding. The views of the AU and the countries in the region form critical inputs for Council’s action on AMISOM mandate renewal. In this regard, the points mentioned in the 9 February 2021 communiqué of the African Union Peace and Security Council deserve careful consideration of this Council. We believe that an extension of AMISOM mandate would allow all stakeholders to look into the reconfiguration of AMISOM in a comprehensive manner at a later date.

 

Madam President,

 

8. We are deeply concerned at the exacerbating humanitarian situation in Somalia. Sustained conflict and economic instability have been compounded by the triple threat of COVID-19, desert locusts and floods. It is reprehensible that humanitarian workers working under such difficult circumstances are being targeted by Al-Shabaab and its affiliated groups. Access for humanitarian workers remains critical for alleviating the challenges faced by the Somali people. It is equally important to assist Somalia in fighting the desert locusts which spread from that region to many parts of Asia, causing extensive damage to crops. This aspect should also be given special attention by the international community.

 

9. On the piracy front, while there have been no successful piracy attacks off the coast of Somalia recently, the threat has persisted. India has been engaged in combating piracy and ensuring maritime security and safe navigation in the region. The Indian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia continuously since October 2008 and has coordinated with multi-national partners to contribute to maritime security and safety for all in the region.

 

10. The situation in Somalia calls for sustained engagement with the Federal Government and Federal Member States to comprehensively address the multitude of problems in political, security, and humanitarian fields. We acknowledge and extend our support to the efforts of the AU, IGAD and the UN in bringing political stability to Somalia and to the Horn of Africa.

 

Madam President,

 

11. India’s association with Somalia goes back to centuries. India made a significant contribution to peacekeeping in Somalia through its significant involvement in UNOSOM-II during 1993-94. Twelve Indian soldiers laid down their lives for keeping the peace in Somalia. India has supported AMISOM in the past and will continue to do so. In recent years, India has extended its support for capacity building in Somalia. We have supplied essential medicines to the country. Earlier this month, we gifted 27 buses to the Somali Transport Ministry to augment public transport facilities. India remains committed to assist Somalia on its path towards sustained peace and stability.

 

I thank you Madam President.

 

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