I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the associated countries Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, and the EFTA countries belonging to the European Economic Area, Iceland, align themselves with this statement.
The EU welcomes todays public debate of the Security Council and the opportunity it provides to assess the situation in Somalia in the light of the Secretary Generals report and to focus its attention, for the second time in less than a week, on the Horn of Africa, a region of particular concern for the European Union.
The future of Somalia depends, first of all on the Somalis themselves. The International Community should assist the Somalis in reversing the dangerous and unique situation of Somalia, without state structures for more than a decade. Years of civil war, poverty and social disintegration have led to a situation that constitutes a security threat and a potential source of instability and radicalism in the region. Investing in the pacification and comprehensive reconstruction of Somalia contributes to regional security and prevents future conflicts.
The EU underlines the need for a unified approach to the peace process and a greater coherency in policy towards Somalia in order to achieve a comprehensive and lasting settlement. In this regard, the EU welcomes the timely resolution adopted on Somalia by the 9th Inter-Governmental Authority on Development Summit in Khartoum on 11 January and the recommendations contained therein.
The EU wants to emphasize the need for a firm commitment against terrorism in accordance with the Security Council resolution 1373 (2001). In this context, the EU attaches special importance and particularly welcomes IGADs recommendation urging the Transitional National Government and all other de facto authorities and political forces to commit themselves to combat terrorism in all its forms. We note the establishment by the TNG of an anti-terrorism task force and its stated intention to take further steps in this regard. The EU is currently providing Somalia with assistance in concrete areas to implement the requirements of the Counter-Terrorism Committee.
The EU welcomes the decision taken by the IGAD Foreign Ministers Committee on Somalia on 14 February to convene a National Reconciliation Conference in the second half of April in Nairobi, including the Transitional National Government and all other Somali de facto authorities and political forces without any conditionalities. We wish this event every success and we encourage all Somali parties to participate in that Conference. We also welcome IGADs call for co-operation among the three frontline states, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, which give hope of renewed impetus to the peace and reconciliation process.
The Somalis themselves are the main players in the national reconciliation dialogue. The parties need to put aside their differences and to participate in the IGAD-facilitated dialogue without preconditions and with a genuine resolve of broadening and completing the national reconciliation process that started in Arta in order to make it truly inclusive. We encourage the United Nations to work closely with and provide every assistance to the IGAD countries and Somali parties in preparing for and participating in that Conference.
The EU emphasises its readiness to examine ways and means on how to support IGADs efforts to assist the Somalis to achieve peace and national reconciliation and to put an end to a situation which causes much distress and suffering among the civilian population. In this regard, a meeting of the IGADs Partners Forum on Somalia is scheduled to take place in Rome on 11 April.
We call once again on the countries involved and other actors to comply with the arms embargo established by the Security Council resolution 733 (1992). All States and in particular those of the region must abstain from any military involvement in Somalia and from taking any other initiative that could infringe on the sovereignty, political independence, unity and prospects for peace of this country. The territory of Somalia should not be used to undermine stability in the region.
The EU takes note of the recommendations of the Secretary-Generals report and in particular of the assessment of the security situation carried out by the inter-agency mission dispatched to Somalia. The Secretary-General considers that the current security situation in Mogadishu does not allow for a long-term United Nations presence. The EU fully shares these security concerns. It is clear, nonetheless, that active UN involvement in the Somali peace process and in the rehabilitation and restoration of peace and stability is absolutely essential. We must look at ways in which the UN, and the international community, can contribute to breaking this cycle of insecurity and help contribute to creating the necessary security conditions in Somalia. We encourage in this regard further proposals on post-conflict peace-building activities and institutional building in Somalia, including assistance in the demobilization of militia members and the training of police personnel, as set out in the Security Council Presidential Statement of 31 October 2001. We look forward to the establishment of a Committee of Friends of Somalia by the Secretary General in order to coordinate efforts and gather support for peace and reconstruction in the country.
We want to stress the need to support and promote the role of civil society in the process of national reconciliation and social and economic reconstruction as well as womens participation in peace-building at all levels. Further attention should be given to youth education and training.
All parties in Somalia must fully respect the security and safety of the personnel of the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and non-governmental organizations, and guarantee their complete freedom of movement and access throughout Somalia. In this regard, it is necessary to reopen the airport and seaport of Mogadishu to allow for increased humanitarian assistance. It is equally important that the Somali leaders heed the call of the Secretary-General to welcome and assist in the implementation of humanitarian and socio-economic development projects.
Full attention must be devoted to the dismal human rights situation in the country. In particular, steps must be taken to end the widespread impunity for, inter alia, arbitrary and summary executions and acts of torture, as well as to improve the human rights of women and the rights of the child. The recruitment of children as soldiers remains a widespread and abhorrent- practice. The EU is deeply concerned at the absence of an effective judicial system.
The humanitarian situation in Somalia, caused by the conflict, food insecurity and the current drought, remains a deep concern. In this regard, the EU stands ready to continue its contribution to the international effort. We are currently providing humanitarian and rehabilitation assistance to local communities, particularly through non-governmental organizations, where security conditions permit.
The EU remains committed to continuing its support of the peace process in Somalia and in particular to IGADs efforts. A lasting solution for Somalia requires the political will of all the Somali parties, a constructive and supporting role of its immediate neighbours, the full cooperation of other interested countries and an active engagement of the wider international community.
Thank you Mr. President.