UN envoy calls for leadership to break political stalemate in Somalia

WIde The situation in Somalia Report of the Secretary-General on Somalia (S/2019/884)

 The top UN envoy in Somalia, James Swan, on Tuesday called on leaders in the country to negotiate in good faith to break the current political stalemate caused by delayed elections.

“I once again urge Somali leaders to find solutions in good faith, and to demonstrate the leadership the country requires of them at this historic moment,” he told the Security Council in a briefing.

Prime Minister Mohamed Roble is convening a new summit between the Somali federal government and federal member states, in a welcome return to dialogue after the earlier period of confrontation, said Swan, the UN secretary-general’s special representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia.

Following a series of closed-door confidence-building meetings, discussions are now centered on resolving the outstanding issues related to the implementation of the Sept. 17 of 2020 electoral agreement, he said.

So far, a positive atmosphere prevails, and all sides report progress being made in the discussions. It appears the parties are very close to an agreement, he said.

The signatories to the Sept. 17 agreement must now commit to a clear way forward with the holding of elections. Without this, progress on key national priorities will continue to be hampered, or worse, reversed, in critical areas, including in the security, economic and development sectors, he warned.

Swan said the security situation in Somalia continues to be of grave concern. Al-Shabaab remains a serious threat manifesting the ability to plan and execute complex attacks on a range of targets across Somalia.

The humanitarian situation is still dire, with 5.9 million Somalis — or more than one-third of the population — are in need of humanitarian assistance this year. Of these, over 3 million are in acute need of life-saving assistance, he said.

While 80 percent of the country is impacted by drought conditions, heavy rains are at the same time causing seasonal flash flooding in some riverine areas. Erratic climatic shocks have led to greater displacement and increased food insecurity, he said.