Count on the UN for support, Guterres tells Somalia


UN chief Antonio Guterres has promised continued support for Somalia amid the country’s troubles that include a gruelling drought and chaos over delayed elections.

Mr Guterres made the pledge in a phone call with President Mohamed Farmaajo on Monday night, a first between them since Covid-19 struck.

A statement from the UN said the Secretary-General expressed his solidarity with Somalia in the face of increased Al-Shabaab attacks, and the drought the country is facing.

He also expressed his support for African Union Mission in Somalia (ATIMS)—the reformed peacekeeping force endorsed by the African Union and the UN—and his expectation that Somalia would be able to ensure its own security soon.

ATMIS, which was transformed from the old African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), has recently faced problems after its leader, Francisco Madeira, was declared persona non-grata and expelled from Somalia by Prime Minister Hussein Roble and told to leave the country within 48 hours. Later, President Farmaajo cancelled the expulsion, saying the PM did not have powers to solely make such a decision.

But Mr Madeira, an envoy from Mozambique, had already left Mogadishu by the time he was declared persona non-grata, a move criticised by the African Union.

It also emerged that recently, senior ATMIS officials weren’t on talking terms—an internal memo showed communication had broken down and there was absenteeism.

“The Secretary-General and the President also discussed the electoral process in Somalia,” said the UN statement, adding that Guterres wants a swift conclusion for the electoral process and that any outstanding issues be addressed through dialogue.

The UN boss wants solutions for a number of outstanding issues in Somalia such as the acceleration of the long delayed elections and measures taken to alleviate suffering as a result of drought that is ravaging the Horn of Africa nation and the wider eastern Africa region.

If the electoral process is advanced as per suggestions by the UN Secretary-General, it will culminate with Somalia’s 54-member Upper House and 275 legislators of the House of the People holding a session to vote for a federal president.

Source: The EastAfrica


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