United Nations Security Council Extends Somalia Mission Mandate

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NEW YORK – Following the Secretary-General’s strategic review of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the Security Council today extended until 31 October 2023 the Mission’s mandate and tasks, as set out in resolutions 2158 (2014) and 2592 (2021), as Council members condemned the terrorist attack two days ago in Mogadishu.

 

Adopting resolution 2657 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2657(2022)) by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with 1 abstention (China), the Council requested UNSOM to maintain and strengthen its presence across Somalia and to continue to cooperate with that country and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

Recognizing renewed operations against Al-Shabaab, the Council also encouraged UNSOM to support Somalia in a number of areas, including ensuring that plans are in place to protect civilians and communities in areas of military operations; supporting Somali civilian leadership, ownership and oversight in the planning and coordination of stabilization efforts; and promoting expansion of a governance and service delivery to areas and districts where fragility persists.

By other terms, the Council encouraged the Government of Somalia to deepen cooperation and collaboration at all levels towards several ends, including creating a conducive political and security environment for more inclusive democratic processes across Somalia, and promoting the full, equal and meaningful participation of women at all levels of decision-making.

Through the resolution, the Council also condemned any misuse or obstruction of humanitarian assistance, demanding that all parties allow and facilitate full, safe, rapid and unhindered access for the timely delivery of aid to persons in need across Somalia. Further, the organ called on all relevant actors to facilitate, support and, where appropriate, implement durable solutions for internal displacement.

Speaking after the vote, James Kariuki (United Kingdom) said that today’s adoption sends a powerful message of the Council’s support — not just to UNSOM, but to Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and all Somalis. UNSOM has played an important role in Somalia since the Mission’s inception, and the recent strategic review found its mandate well-aligned with Somalia’s national priorities. The successful conclusion of the electoral process — and a peaceful transition of power — will allow that country to achieve national objectives and successfully fight Al-Shabaab. The United Kingdom will continue to stand with them, he said, also commending President Mohamud’s determination to defeat Al-Shabaab.

Jeffrey DeLaurentis (United States) said that renewing UNSOM’s mandate, which will further the Mission’s support to the Somali Government in addressing serious challenges. These include responding to unprecedented drought; promoting reconciliation among the federal Government and states; completing the review of the Constitution; and achieving debt relief. He also welcomed that the resolution incorporated recommendations from the strategic review, including further coordination between ATMIS, the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) and the relevant country team. Additionally, he condemned the attack by Al-Shabaab in Mogadishu on 29 October.

Martin Kimani (Kenya) said the resolution will help Somalia accelerate stabilization efforts and enable the implementation of the Somalia Transition Plan, among other initiatives. Condemning the attack by Al-Shabaab in Mogadishu, he reaffirmed full support for Somalia’s counter-terrorism efforts. He underlined the need for greater support for Somalia, including enabling its purchase and storage of arms to allow the armaments of its military and police to exceed those of Al-Shabaab. He called on the Council to strengthen measures to curb the activities of that group, adding that doing so within the sanctions Committee pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) concerning Somalia “will not be easy, but it must be done”.

Dai Bing (China), spotlighting his delegation’s abstention, said improvement was needed on issues such as protection of civilians, humanitarian access and climate change. Condemning the recent attack in Mogadishu by Al-Shabaab, he expressed hope that the Somali Government will effectively assume the primary responsibility of maintaining peace and security in the country. He also voiced his hope that the Government will make greater efforts on humanitarian issues, including protecting the safety of vulnerable groups and humanitarian workers. Recalling that the Secretary-General recently submitted his report to the Council with recommendations on the country’s sanctions regime, he stressed that the Somali Government must continue to strengthen its management of weapons and ammunition.

Anna M. Evstigneeva (Russian Federation) expressed condolences to the Government and people of Somalia following the recent terrorist act in Mogadishu. Her country supported the resolution, she said, but shares the views expressed by China regarding the imbalanced nature of some of its wording, including on human rights issues, child protection in armed conflict and human rights. She voiced regret that the resolution did not sufficiently reflect the recommendations from the strategic review, noting that the Mission’s mandate has lost balance over recent years. UNSOM should work closely on the country’s priorities and its work should be clearly evaluated, she said, stressing the importance of respecting Somalia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity.

Lana Zaki Nusseibeh (United Arab Emirates) welcomed today’s adoption, noting that recent terrorism — such as the attack in Mogadishu — highlights UNSOM’s important role. The Mission’s support is particularly vital for nation-building efforts and for strengthening security and Government institutions to address complex challenges, foremost of which is the fight against al-Shabaab. She also recalled that, during negotiations on UNSOM’s mandate, her country proposed replacing the term “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)” with “Da’esh”. This was to ensure that the Security Council did not give credence to terrorist groups’ exploitation of Islam to justify violence and hate through self-proclaimed Islamic appellations.

Abukar Osman (Somalia) said that the United Nations must renew its commitment to the Somali people and strengthen coordination among different entities. It is essential to create an environment capable of advancing the Government’s efforts to achieve stability and security. He also noted that, despite the completion of the UNSOM strategic review, the transition from special political mission to the country team is not well-defined. Therefore, UNSOM must have a clear understanding of the Government’s shared vision for an exit strategy.

He went on to underscore the crucial role played by Somali United Nations national officers on the ground, expressing concern with the low level of recruitment of the same in UNSOM — especially qualified female candidates, which is below 10 per cent. Recognizing the importance of women’s equal and meaningful participation in peacebuilding, he called for an action-oriented agenda of “Women, Peace and Security”. He further noted that the Government is defeating Al-Shabaab on many battle fronts, reiterating that “we remain united in that regard”.

The meeting began at 1:49 p.m. and ended at 2:15 p.m.

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