From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Wed Dec 17 2008 - 08:55:16 EST
Secretary-General's briefing to the Security Council on the situation in
New York, 16 December 2008 -
Today's meeting comes at a critical juncture in the continuing tragedy of
Ethiopia's statement in a 25 November letter to me that it plans to withdraw
its troops from Somalia by the end of this year is consistent with the
Djibouti agreement but could easily lead to chaos. In response to the risk
of a deterioration in the security situation and concerns expressed by the
African Union, this body and the African Union must work closely together to
provide additional support to AMISOM, to enhance its capacity to defend
itself and to continue to hold strategic areas in Mogadishu while efforts to
build the Somali security structures under the Djibouti process continue.
Prime Minister Meles has reiterated to the Ethiopian Parliament his
intention to completely withdraw the troops in two weeks.
The African Union is scheduled to discuss renewal of an AMISOM mandate at a
Ministerial meeting in Addis Ababa on 22 December. If they do not renew the
mandate, the AMISOM forces are likely to depart before the Ethiopian forces
are withdrawn. We are however encouraged by the indication by both Burundi
and Uganda that they are prepared to deploy additional battalions to AMISOM
if the essential resources are made available. All eyes are on the
discussion in this chamber to gauge the determination of the international
community in response to this danger. Our actions today will be critical to
the African Union's decisions on Somalia next week.
Let me now discuss briefly the latest political developments in Somalia.
There is a credible political process underway in Somalia called the
Djibouti process that has been nurtured by my Special Representative Ahmedou
Ould-Abdallah. Somali parties agreed on 25 November to expand the
Transitional Federal Parliament by 275 seats. The parties also agreed to
extend the transitional period, which ends in September 2009, by two years.
The enlarged parliament is expected to elect a new Somali leadership. They
have also agreed to set up a joint force to form the backbone of a united
The return of ARS leader Sheikh Sharif and 39 of his members to Mogadishu
from their two- year exile is a promising move. Reports indicate that they
were warmly received by Somalis. This represents a first step in importing
and entrenching the Djibouti peace process into Somalia.
As we have said on numerous occasions, the responsibility to bring peace and
stability to Somalia rests primarily with the Somalis themselves. However,
the continuing feuding within the TFG and the recent division between the
President and the Prime Minister of his duties can jeopardize the peace
process and affects the functioning and stability of the TFG. At the same
time, I urge the armed groups in Somalia that have cited Ethiopia's
withdrawal as a condition for ending the fighting to now lay down their
weapons and join the Djibouti process.
Humanitarian access remains severely restricted and the level of insecurity
for humanitarian workers and the local civilian population is unacceptably
high. During this year alone, an estimated 250,000 people were displaced
from Mogadishu. The overall number of IDPs stands at 1.3 million and an
average of 5,000 Somali refugees arrive every month in the refugee camps in
The number of people in need of assistance and livelihood support in Somalia
now stands at 3.2 million. The delivery of such assistance remains a
logistical challenge, not least because of piracy which has increased the
cost of transporting supplies.
I am deeply concerned about the direct targeting of aid workers and UN staff
which has led to the death of 4 United Nations staff between September and
December. The challenges are huge, but humanitarian agencies continue to
deliver relief supplies, including in conflict areas. If the security
situation deteriorates, access to humanitarian assistance will only get
I have repeatedly stated that the most appropriate response to the complex
security challenges in Somalia is a Multinational Force (MNF), rather than a
typical peacekeeping operation. Such a force should have the full military
capabilities required to support the cessation of armed confrontation to
stabilize Mogadishu and to defend itself.
I have approached 50 countries and three international organizations to
request contributions for a Multinational Force. The response has not been
encouraging; no Member State has offered to play the lead nation role.
In the absence of adequate pledges for a Multinational Force, I intend to
propose to the Council three concrete measures that would provide the
necessary security arrangements in support of the Djibouti peace process. If
successful, these would pave the way for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping
operation, in keeping with Security Council resolution 1814 (2008).
First, we should provide the African Union with substantial and credible
resources to reinforce AMISOM, including the means to deploy the additional
battalions pledged by Uganda and Burundi. I will also suggest that all
resources pledged for an MNF be redirected to AMISOM, if an MNF does not
materialize. Financing will be a major concern and we will have to explore
with Member States creative approaches to mobilize the needed funds. As we
are liquidating UNMEE, we have already identified assets that could be
donated to AMISOM, with the approval of the General Assembly.
Second, the Security Council should consider ways to build the capacity of
Somali parties themselves to restore security, import the Djibouti talks
into Somalia and carry forward the peace process. This could include the
provision of training -- through international partners -- for the joint
TFG/ARS forces established by the Djibouti Agreement, as well as
capacity-building for the police, judicial and corrections sectors. Such
efforts would be conducted under an overall security sector reform strategy,
which could be nationally-owned, with the United Nations assuming a
Finally, the Council could explore the possibility of establishing a
Maritime Task Force, or adding to the current anti-piracy operations a quick
reaction component. This would have the capability to launch operations into
Somalia in support of UNPOS activities and AMISOM operations.
Our objective is to stabilize Somalia and find a durable solution to the
crisis in that country. I recognize that some members of the Council have
other suggestions for dealing with the security crisis in Somalia, including
putting the AMISOM forces under a UN peacekeeping operation now. That is not
our preferred option. We are of the view that strengthening of the AMISOM
through inter alia, the provision of financing, logistical support,
necessary training and equipment and other reinforcements facilitated by the
UN and Member States is the realistic option at this time. At the same time,
we are continuing contingency planning for the deployment of a full-fledged
UN peacekeeping operation at the appropriate time and under the right
conditions, as requested by the Council. I will soon provide a detailed
report to the Security Council covering these proposals.
I share the deep concern of Member States at the escalation of acts of
piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia. I welcome the actions
this Council has just taken to deal with this issue.
I am particularly impressed by the actions of Member States and
international organizations to pool their efforts and resources to fight
piracy and armed robbery at sea. I want to offer my thanks to the European
Union, NATO, and individual Member States that have contributed in this
regard. The need to coordinate and fortify these efforts remains an ongoing
one. My Special Representative for Somalia convened an international
conference on piracy on 11-12 December to further discuss this issue. My
Legal Adviser stands ready to assist States in trying to find a solution to
the practical, legal and jurisdictional issues involved. As requested by the
Security Council in its resolution 1846 of 2 December 2008, I will submit
recommendations on ways to ensure the long-term security of international
navigation off the coast of Somalia. In the interim, the Secretariat has
designated a focal point in the Office of Military Affairs of DPKO for
information sharing on anti-piracy operations.
We must be mindful that piracy is a symptom of the state of anarchy which
has persisted in that country for over 17 years. This lawlessness
constitutes a serious threat to regional stability and to international
peace and security.
Our anti-piracy efforts must be placed in the context of a comprehensive
approach which fosters an inclusive peace process in Somalia and assists the
parties to rebuild security, governance capacity, address human rights
issues and harness economic opportunities throughout the country.
I appeal to the leaders and people of Somalia to give peace a chance and put
the seventeen years of war behind them. I am particularly disturbed by the
continuing disunity of the Government's leadership. Without an effective and
unified government to support, there is little that the United Nations, and
indeed the international community can do in Somalia. I urge the country's
leaders to put their differences aside and place the future of the Somali
As the international community, we must today send a positive political
signal to the Somali people and the African Union that we are willing to
provide a security path that will complement the political compromises
reached through the Djibouti process. We must act before it is too late.
Thank you very much.
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