I am speaking on behalf of the European Union.
The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
I would like to thank and congratulate the United Kingdom for organizing the timely and successful Somalia conference in London on 23 February.
Allow me to begin by reiterating the EU’s deep concern about the situation in Somalia, and about the regional implications of its conflict. The EU continues to follow events in Somalia with great attention. It is determined to support the people of Somalia. They need peace, a prosperous economy and a stable political future in which they are able to live in security under the rule of law. Only such improved governance in Somalia can bring to an end both Somali suffering and the consequent scourges of terrorism and piracy beyond its borders.
The EU has set out its approach to Somalia in its Strategic Framework for the Horn, adopted last November. And it has been putting its words into action through a wide range of interventions: humanitarian, developmental, political, counter-piracy and maritime capacity building, re-establishing the rule of law and co-ordinating counter-terrorism. The EU’s overall support to Somalia is over 1 billion Euros.
The EU welcomes the progress that the ‘Garowe principles’ constitute in implementing the Kampala agreement, and the Roadmap to end the transition. We look to Somalis to build a new Somalia on these principles, putting in place a new Constitution and a stable, accountable political structure, acceptable to all through an inclusive process representative of Somali communities. All Somali groups that clearly renounce violence and allow unhindered humanitarian access should be included. As a key partner to Somalia, the EU encourages Somalia’s reconciliation process. It will continue to play an active and supportive role in it. We will work hard to help the process move forward in accordance with the agreed benchmarks and timelines, as there can be no extension of the transitional period. But conflict resolution happens when local communities agree to live in peace together, not when outsiders impose peace.
It is reassuring that recent months have seen the withdrawal of Al Shabaab from some key cities in the central and southern regions of Somalia. The EU’s largest contribution has in fact been on security.
The EU welcomes the recent adoption of resolution 2036 (2012), authorising an increase of the troop ceiling of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM). The EU remains a steadfast supporter of AMISOM. We praise the commitment and bravery of the mission’s troops. The European Commission will propose a further support of 100 million Euros financial to AMISOM to help fund the troop increase. This is on top of 325 million Euros given to date, provided through the African Peace Facility, which is one of the main tools of EU to support African crisis management structures and missions. The EU expects that with this increase, AMISOM will be able to deliver security outside Mogadishu. But the decision also to introduce reimbursements for contingent-owned equipment places an additional burden on EU Member States, which together pay more than 40 percent of the UN peacekeeping budget. More equal burden-sharing is necessary. The EU therefore calls on new, additional donors to ensure the sustainability of AMISOM financing.
Together with the political process, helping Somalis establish their own effective security forces is our best exit strategy. The EU is therefore training the National Security Forces of Somalia through its Training Mission in Uganda (EUTM). This mission includes education of trainers, who can then take over the training. To date, the EUTM has trained, together with partners, some 1,800 soldiers, specialists, trainers and junior leaders, who are now back in Mogadishu to form the core of Somalia’s National Security Forces. We are currently training more trainers and officers to enable them to take command and control of the forces. The EU has also funded, through UNDP, the training and stipends of 7,000 Somali police forces.
The EU supports security to create space for good, inclusive governance and for improving lives through development. We tackle both the causes and symptoms of instability.
Already the largest donor to Somalia, the EU is increasing its development assistance (now over 500 million Euros) to support governance, education and economic development. We are working wherever adequate security and governance permit development to hold sway, including the regions of Puntland and Somaliland. This support ought to be expanded to more regions, as circumstances permit.
The EU and its Member States are encouraged by the United Nations announcement on 3 February that famine conditions in Somalia have ended. However, concerns persist in relation to the 2.34 million people who remain in crisis. We continue to call on all parties involved to allow unfettered humanitarian access to Somalis in need. The onset of famine in Somalia spurred the EU to more than double its humanitarian aid to 77 million Euros. In conjunction with a number of partners and UN agencies, the EU provided food, healthcare, water and sanitation facilities to those affected by the crisis. In a long-term perspective, the EU supports solutions and programmes in the areas of drought-preparedness, agriculture, rural development and food security, building resilience to the recurrent droughts. In tackling the humanitarian challenge the EU and its Member States emphasise how humanitarian assistance should be guided by the principles of humanity, independence, neutrality and impartiality. A clear distinction between humanitarian objectives and political and security objectives is essential.
As part of its comprehensive approach, the EU also plays an important role in combating piracy off the coast of Somalia. The EU’s maritime operation NAVFOR ATALANTA remains in action. Its mission is to ensure the protection of World Food Program shipments and of vulnerable shipping, including deliveries to AMISOM. ATALANTA, whose mandate was very recently extended until December 2014, works to deter, prevent, and repress acts of piracy.
The prosecution of suspected pirates continues to constitute a key task, to be solved in close cooperation with local and regional partners, and within the longer-term purpose of restabilising rule of law in Somalia. The EU has signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Seychelles and Mauritius to transfer pirates arrested by EUNAVFOR, and is currently negotiating such agreements with other countries of the region. Additionally, the EU welcomes the recent report by the Secretary-General on specialised anti-piracy courts.
Since poverty and unemployment are among the drivers of piracy, EU development aid programs in areas such as education and livelihoods address some root causes on land. The idea is to offer young Somalis an alternative to criminal activities, and to ease the pressure of unskilled youth from the most underdeveloped regions of the country.
Regional ownership is important. That is why the EU supports the regional Eastern and Southern Africa / Indian Ocean anti-piracy strategy adopted in Mauritius in October 2010.
A new element to the EU’s anti-piracy engagement will be a civilian mission to build regional maritime capacities, benefitting the littoral countries of the Red Sea and the Horn of Africa.
The key to resolving the political impasse in Somalia lies with the Somalis themselves. Bearing in mind the interconnectedness of the challenges in the region, the EU will continue supporting the region’s own leadership
The EU notes the important contributions made by the UN in Somalia under the leadership of SRSG Augustine Mahiga. The EU welcomes the relocation of UN staff to Mogadishu. A sustained presence in Somalia’s capital will facilitate the international community’s work in the country.
The increased international attention, recent security improvements on the ground, and the expansion of AMISOM constitute a window of opportunity in Somalia. Now is the time to redouble efforts to reach the ultimate goal: the transfer of political and security responsibilities to a Somali government with broad-based local support. We look forward to the UN and the AU exercising decisive leadership to promote peace in Somalia. The EU will contribute to attaining this goal with its comprehensive approach. At the same time, it is imperative that all Somali stakeholders, especially the Transitional Federal Institutions, act upon their promises to solve the tremendous political, economic and security challenges before them.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and the European Economic Area.