Statement by SRSG Mahiga to the Security Council
10 August 2011
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 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.
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.
The recent and unexpected withdrawal of the Al- Shabaab insurgent group from Mogadishu is likewise a significant event that presents both opportunities and
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 Al- Shabaab 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.
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 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 resourcerequirements. 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.
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 topave 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 enablers or the full complement of the Security Council authorized
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).
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
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 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.