Naturally, I too thank the Special Representative of the Secretary- General, Mr. Augustine Mahiga.
In recent months, Somalia has been able to achieve historic milestones that would have seemed impossible a year ago. They have adopted a provisional Constitution, designated a Parliament and its President, elected a new President of the Republic, and, lastly, designated a new Prime Minister. We now look forward to the upcoming appointment of a Government. In Somalia, therefore, there is new hope. The international community must stand with the Somalis and support them as they build a new State, all the while respecting Somalia’s sovereignty.
With the completion of the transition, consolidating gains is now a top priority, so as to ensure that the progress of recent months will not be undone. To that end, as the President of Somalia underscored in his statement at the mini-summit on Somalia held on the sidelines of the General Assembly, making the country secure and stabilizing its territory are the immediate goals.
Making the country secure requires ongoing military effort. I will return to that later. But it also calls for a political strategy. Throughout Somalia’s territory, particularly in the areas liberated from Al-Shabaab, establishing inclusive federal and civil administrative institutions is of priority. But after 20 years of the absence of federal power in a country where clan allegiances have been key, those institutions will need to be accepted by the population and thereby gain their legitimacy. To that end, we encourage Somali authorities in their desire to open a dialogue with all Somalis by undertaking a process of national reconciliation. All of the components of Somalia should be represented in the institutions that will be put in place at the federal and local levels.
In that context, a civil political presence in support of Somali authorities is vital. The United Nations has the necessary experience and expertise in that regard. We therefore hope that it will speed up its deployment in Mogadishu and swiftly plan the modalities for its new presence in the liberated territories, in concert with the African Union and Somali authorities. We look forward to the results of the review in terms of strengthening the United Nations political presence, but we do not want to lose precious time.
On the security front, the successes of AMISOM and the Somali security forces in recent months have made it possible to regain territory throughout the central and southern parts of Somalia, and thereby weaken Al-Shabaab. The reconquest of the south has been stepped up with the taking of the ports of Marka and Kismayo, which has denied Al-Shabaab its major strategic bastion and a considerable part of its resources. Those results need to be commended, even as the Ugandan, Burundian, Kenyan, Djiboutian and Ethiopian troops continue to pay a heavy price to liberate Somalia from Al-Shabaab.
Despite the recent gains, the presence of AMISOM is still necessary in order to assist the Somali National Security Forces in ensuring lasting security in the country.
In that context, France supports the renewal of AMISOM’s mandate for one year at the current ceiling on troop strength. A midterm assessment of the nature of its presence is to undertaken based on the reviews to be carried out in close cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union prior to the end of the year.
We therefore share the analysis of the African Union, which, in its last progress report (S/2012/764, annex), underscored the necessity of finding lasting financing for AMISOM. I would like to recall that, since 2007, the European Union has provided ongoing support to the Mission in the amount of €442 million. We will renew our financing to pay salaries for AMISOM soldiers in 2013. However, those resources are limited, given the current AMISOM troop strength and the needs that have been expressed with respect to other parts of the African continent. Other donors will have to complement the contributions of the European Union so that the soldiers of AMISOM will be fully underwritten in 2013.
In the medium term, the setting up of a credible Somali security force should be our priority so that it can take over from AMISOM at any early date. That is needed in order to establish the political credibility of the new Government and is the only way to guarantee lasting control of the territory of the country. That effort needs to be the strategic priority for the international community in Somalia in the medium term.
France and the European Union are fully committed to the process, together with the European Union training mission, which is training Somali soldiers, strengthening the establishment of a command structure and consolidating the chain of command. The strategic review that is beginning in Brussels will decide how that mission will continue — we hope that it will cover two years — and will determine how to develop it to meet the needs of Somalia. The efforts of that mission to strengthen security on land will be complemented by another mission to develop the coast guard in Somalia. Let me conclude by addressing the human rights situation and the humanitarian situation in the country. The recruitment of child soldiers, the killing of reporters and extrajudicial executions continue to be a source of concern. In addition, 4 million people still need food assistance. The United Nations, like the non-governmental humanitarian organizations, is providing vital support to people affected by famine in the region. Unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance must be guaranteed.
Learn more on Somalia