New York, 20 March 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The purpose of my presentation is to introduce the next steps in the implementation of the Djibouti Agreement - an ongoing process- and how I see Somalia's long march back to normality.
First I would like to make a few observations, then outline the importance of the linkage between Governance, Security and Development and finally discuss how to make the best use of the first one hundred days of the new Government.
A few observations
For years, the situation in the country has been a threat to its people with continued armed confrontation and subsequent anarchy. A threat to its neighbours with border insecurity and trafficking of humans, weapons and drugs; a vulnerable state has made the whole region vulnerable. A threat to the international community with increasing irregular migration flows, homegrown hard drugs, terrorism and piracy etc.
A new Paradigm
To address the complexities in Somalia, a new paradigm, based on the linkage between Governance, Security and Development, is now needed. While the Somali elite – military, business and religious leaders, elders, intellectuals etc. – bear most of the blame for the collapse of their nation, the international community can not shirk its own responsibilities. Today all of us, Somalis and the international community, should undertake efforts to win each other's hearts and minds. Somalis have to find a way out of the trap and we do too.
Obviously, there is no possibility of wide-scale recovery and rehabilitation if the internal situation remains volatile. At the same time, without basic investments in development - providing employment for youth and women and rehabilitation of neighbourhoods - criminality will continue to thrive and security will not improve.
A strategy with achievable goals should help stabilize the country. For the next 100 days, these goals should be limited: employment, renovation of infrastructure and humanitarian assistance. Many young people are always available for violent confrontation. A large number of those extremists, who carry out murder under different banners, are generally far more interested in their share of revenues than in ideology. There are plenty of illegitimate ways to make small and large profits in and from Somalia. How can we convince the rent seekers and spoilers that peace will be more profitable?
Simultaneous assistance to Governance, Security and Development should be delivered. While large resources are available for Somalia, a major problem is their effective and timely disbursement. This issue should be addressed urgently.
However it should not be up to the international community alone to support Somalia. The country has the longest coastline in Africa (2,300 kms) with rich fish resources and promising hydrocarbon deposits. More importantly, it has an extraordinarily entrepreneurial business community and its Diaspora sends more than a billion dollars home each year. These advantages should be mobilized for peace, reconstruction and development not for destruction. Creating insecurity inside the country for 20 years and now exposing young members of the Diaspora to terrorist activities and suspicion in their new home lands is unpatriotic.
During my first statement before this Council on 17 December 2007, I presented three possible courses of action for the UN to follow in Somalia. They were: a business as usual policy, a total withdrawal from the country and thirdly combined, simultaneous political, security and development undertakings.
The Djibouti Agreement is the result of the last approach.
Somalia is back from the brink. In that connection I wish to recognise with thanks the support I have received from IGAD, the African Union, the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Conference, the European Union and Commission, Norway, the US, as well as Djibouti and Kenya to mention only a few. Members of the International Contact Group, which I chair, have demonstrated a strong engagement in favour of stability in Somalia.
A One Hundred Days Assistance Program
Today, the state legitimacy is established and the legality of the new institutions is recognised regionally, internationally and indeed by the vast majority of Somalis. The President, the Speaker, the Prime Minister, Cabinet and Parliament are all back in Mogadishu, a welcome departure from past practices of functioning from outside the capital. Describing Somalia, The Economist stated recently that there is a "glimmer of hope" and indeed there is a chance for a fresh start.
This new seriousness of purpose invites the international community to back the progress being made through practical actions. These include: (i) immediate support for the new authorities; (ii) immediate diplomatic and financial assistance to AMISOM; (iii) transparent and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance; (iv) the issue of individuals on the UNSC Sanction List, (v) impunity and (vi) piracy off the Somali coast.
(i) We should help Somalis reclaim the future of their country. The new administration has a convincing legitimacy and is recognized internationally by IGAD, the AU, EU, LAS, OIC, and UN. There is therefore an obligation to respect and cooperate with these new authorities and do no harm to their institutions and credibility. They should be consulted on, informed about and associated with all political, economic and humanitarian actions concerning their country. This new approach should put an end to past misunderstandings between some members of the international community and Somalia's central Government.
The new Government should be informed about Somalia's assets held in a number of overseas banks or in accounts managed by international organizations.
(ii) Pending the mobilization of credible funding for AMISOM, the courageous and dedicated African troops and their countries of origin deserve immediate diplomatic recognition and financial support. In this context, I hope that the conference for resource mobilization for AMISOM and the Somali forces, organized by the African Union and the UN within the framework of resolution 1863, will be successful. The Secretary General is due to submit a report for a United Nations peacekeeping operation in advance of the Council's decision on the issue in June. The integrated planning process to develop the Secretary-General's recommendations is ongoing.
(iii) After two decades of armed confrontation, humanitarian assistance is needed more than ever before. While the needs are enormous, Somalia is not to be seen as a purely humanitarian case. A 20 year long emergency is a contradiction in terms. More has to be done especially at the political and diplomatic levels to find a lasting solution. While it should be provided in close cooperation and consultation with the legitimate Government, humanitarian assistance should not and can not be used as a political tool by any party, be it the Government, the opposition or others.
(iv) Last year a Somali was taken off the list of the UN's Al Qaeda and Taleban Sanctions Committee. I believe that others should qualify when they demonstrate a sincere desire to help the return of peace and stability to their country of origin by severing all links with radical groups.
(v) The Djibouti Agreement makes provision for "Justice and Reconciliation". Impunity perpetuates violence. The country should address crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by Somalis against Somalis. A national Truth and Reconciliation Commission could be established and the UN Security Council may also consider the problem through a Commission of Inquiry.
(vi) Piracy is above all a profitable business. It is linked to the failure of the state on land and is its extension off shore. It has to be addressed vigorously to help the security of maritime trade routes. By drawing attention to the plight of Somalis, the international naval presence is a show of solidarity with the country and the whole region. Indeed fighting piracy is also fighting many criminal activities: illegal fishing, waste dumping, trafficking in humans and drugs etc. At the same time there is the need to consolidate cooperative work to help trace the pirates' financial resources. At UNPOS, we plan to do so with our colleagues at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
Finally while Somalia's sovereignty and national interests are to be respected, acts of piracy by private individuals or groups can never be justified.
Given the long standing scepticism and die hard habits, the struggle for peace will be long. Therefore the first priority is to liberate the hijacked Somali peace agenda taken hostage for so long. I would argue that with the Djibouti Agreement, the country has passed the cross roads. It is on a one way street – going forward. The price of regression, back to the conflict, is too high for Somalia, the region and the international community.