Reinforcing the dynamic towards peace in Somalia [fr]
Statement by Mr. Antoine Michon, Political Coordinator of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 25 October 2019
I thank the Ambassador of Belgium for his briefing and reiterate France’s full support for the realization of his mission.
I will focus on three points.
1/ The first concerns the arms embargo, which, as our United Kingdom colleague mentioned earlier, is vital. It directly impairs the ability of terrorist groups, in particular Al-Shabaab, to acquire weapons and therefore cannot be considered an impediment to combating terrorism. It also plays a useful role in preventing trafficking in arms and ammunition, especially from Yemen. Finally, above all, it provides support for the Somali authorities in reforming the security sector and improving their capacities to manage weapons and ammunition. We have noted progress, but we also see that difficulties persist with regard to documented cases of weapons diverted from the Somali armed forces to be found in the black market or in the hands of members of Al-Shabaab.
2/ My second point is that we must step up the fight against the financing of Al-Shabaab. In that context, we note that no illegal Somali charcoal exports have been reported since the summer of 2018, which is good news and demonstrates that the work done by the Panel of Experts, together with certain Gulf countries, has been successful. We must, however, remain vigilant to ensure that such traffic does not resume.
We know that Somali charcoal is not Al-Shabaab’s only source of funding. The terrorist group also generates very significant amounts of revenue from trafficking in arms, sugar and tobacco and new forms of taxation, including on imports arriving at the port of Mogadishu. It is therefore absolutely necessary that the Somali authorities, with the support of the international community and the Security Council, intensify their vigilance and actions to combat the financing of Al-Shabaab. We also hope that the Panel of Experts, which enjoys particular expertise in this area, will be able to support the efforts of the Somali authorities in combating the financing of Al-Shabaab.
3/ My last point concerns the cooperation of the Somali federal authorities with the Panel of Experts. I will be very clear on this point. For almost 10 months the Security Council has been calling on the Somali authorities to cooperate fully with the Panel, which is mandated by the Council. The chairmanship of the 751 Committee has spared no effort to find a solution. Nevertheless, the Somali authorities have continued to refuse to cooperate with the Panel of Experts, which constitutes a direct challenge to the authority of the Council.
In that regard, we find it unacceptable that the Security Council should receive by letter new injunctions from the Somali Federal authorities, setting new conditions for cooperation with the current and future Panels of Experts. Without a change in attitude on the part of the Somali authorities, we might have to reconsider our position with regard to the considerable support that the international community has been providing for the security of Somalia for years. France therefore unequivocally calls on the Somali authorities to cooperate with the new Panel of Experts as soon as its members are appointed, including by allowing it to visit the country.
Lastly, I recall that we continue to believe that Eritrea must commit to working in good faith with Djibouti to resolve the border dispute between the two countries and the issue of Djibouti prisoners of war. The Council must continue to follow those two unresolved issues, for which concrete and rapid progress would make it possible to strengthen the peace process in the region.