23 March 2017 - Somalia: security, a primary concern [fr]
Somalia - Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 23 March 2017
I thank the various briefers for their presentations and would like to pay special tribute to the British Foreign Minister, who took the initiative to convene today’s important meeting and travelled to New York to preside over it.
I would also particularly like to thank the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia for his statement via video link.
Once again, on behalf of the Government of France, I would like to express our strongest condemnation of yesterday’s terrorist attack in London and convey our deepest sympathy to and full solidarity with the United Kingdom.
I should like to make three points.
1) First, with regard to the political and humanitarian situation in Somalia, the electoral process has been satisfactorily concluded. France welcomes the uncontested election of President Farmajo, which sparked a genuine wave of enthusiasm among the people.
We are well aware that the holding of elections called for considerable logistical and security support from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), respectively. And that is indeed an achievement. I warmly congratulate Mr. Keating and the representative of the African Union, as well as my Ethiopian colleague, and, through him, all troop- and police-contributing countries.
The new Somali Administration is already under immense strain. The Secretary-General has just returned from a visit to Somalia and was able to see for himself the seriousness of the humanitarian situation, which, as we know, is being exacerbated by famine affecting the region. The newly formed Government must respond to that situation with the full support of the international community.
Above and beyond that emergency situation, it is important for the Somali Government to be resolutely committed to institution-building and the establishment of the genuine rule of law in order to promote improved respect for human rights and lasting stability in the country.
2) My second point relates to AMISOM and prioritizing the work of the United Nations. Now that elections have been held this year, security will be our primary concern in the years to come.
AMISOM has been deployed in Somalia since 2007. Its work, which receives logistical support from the United Nations and financial support from the European Union, is particularly challenging. I would like to pay special tribute to all those who lost their lives in the fight against Al-Shabaab. That fight is a collective endeavour that cannot be won by AMISOM alone. Moreover, it was never intended for AMISOM to be perpetually deployed in Somalia.
In that regard, I believe that two points should be underscored.
With regard to the financing of AMISOM, which is not sufficiently predictable or sustainable, France had hoped that other donors would agree to join the European Union in providing considerable financial support. The European Union has already provided some $1.7 billion, in addition to contributions that its member States have made to the budget of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia and the bilateral contributions of some member States. Regrettably, AMISOM funding is still not geographically diverse. The European Union continues to finance 80 per cent of the total required and hopes that other donors will join in that effort.
With regard to the withdrawal of AMISOM, we understand that some troop-contributing countries are ready and willing to withdraw, and, once again, we pay tribute to them. Nonetheless, it is important that the withdrawal not be dictated only by the schedule of requirements, but that it be linked to developing a security solution for Somalia.
3) That leads me to my third point, which relates to the ability of the Somalis to be responsible for their own security.
That appears to be the key issue on the table for the next reporting period. There are 10,900 soldiers in the Somali army who are eligible for the logistical support provided by the Support Office for joint operations with AMISOM. At the same time, there are local militias, referred to as the Dervish, that also provide security functions.
That raises several questions that could be useful in guiding our discussions.
Are the soldiers of the Somali National Army well identified? How might the training and operationalization of the Somali National Army be conducted? Could UNSOM step up its efforts to coordinate training and furnish equipment, with a view to providing a more coherent response to the needs of the Somali National Army?
How can existing Somali security forces be more involved in security operations in the country and in Somali National Army offensives?
We welcome the holding in May of the London conference, which we hope will provide some answers to those questions, and we look forward to future reports on AMISOM and the presence of the United Nations in Somalia in the new post-election period.