Let me begin by thanking the Chinese Presidency of the Security Council for organizing this timely and important debate and for inviting the European Union. Let me also thank the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia, Ambassador Boubacar Gaoussou Diarra. I also welcome the presence of the Prime Minister of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, and on this occasion I would like to restate that the EU remains committed to provide support to Somalia and to all those who are making efforts to bring peace and security to the country.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, and Montenegro*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
The EU remains deeply concerned by the situation of violence and unrest in Somalia and by its dramatic impact on the lives of the civilian population, especially on women and children who have been the primary victims. Also the EU has in particular expressed repeatedly its grave concern over the recruitment and use of children in the conflict.
In addition to the already dire security situation, the recent short rainy season resulted in rising food insecurity in central and southern regions increasing the number of people needing humanitarian assistance by 20% in the last six months to a total of 2.4 million. Following her recent visit to Somalia the USG for Humanitarian Affairs, Ms. Valerie Amos, said that Somalia had become one of the worlds worst humanitarian crises, and that this situation could easily worsen if immediate action was not taken to address the needs of the affected population. The EU will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable populations in accordance with the humanitarian principles of independence, neutrality, impartiality and humanity, while also taking into account the broader regional dimension and the substantial number of Somali refugees in neighbouring countries. However, the EU is deeply concerned over the lack of access and respect for the integrity and independence of delivery of humanitarian assistance, and calls on all actors to ensure free and unhindered access.
In Mogadishu and its surrounding, violent clashes between Al Shabaab and forces loyal to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) have continued to occur on an almost daily basis. This illustrates the urgent need to link security with a political strategy built on inclusive outreach. Security cannot be guaranteed by military means alone.
Tensions in the contested regions between Puntland and Somaliland have recently been increasing. The EU calls on all parties to refrain from violence and to resort to dialogue in resolving their differences.
We are also concerned by the continuous political instability, following the recent unilateral decision of the Somali Parliament to extend its mandate for additional three years. In order to improve the legitimacy, representativeness and credibility of any possible new institutional arrangement after August 2011, the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) must be reformed. The constitutional process must be broadened and not limited to the TFIs.
In conformity with relevant UNSC resolutions, the EU has developed a multipronged strategy for Somalia, in support of and in partnership with the TFG, the AU, the UN, IGAD, countries in the region and other international partners. This support extends to the Djibouti political process, AMISOM, the development of the rule of law and the security capacity of the TFG, and the fight against piracy.
AMISOM remains a crucial element to support and protect Somalia’s TFIs, to help them carry out their responsibilities and to ensure sustainable peace. We greatly appreciate the efforts of the troop contributing countries, Uganda and Burundi. The courage and commitment of their troops deserve admiration. Since 2007 the EU has, through the African Peace Facility, provided financial support for AMISOM worth EUR 142 million, whilst further European contributions are being considered.
Furthermore, in the framework of the EU Training Mission (EUTM) launched last year, the EU provides and supports military training of 2,000 Somali soldiers with special attention to the training of junior leaders. Recently the first intake of approximately 1,000 soldiers has been deployed in Mogadishu conducting reintegration training under AMISOM responsibility. The EU is monitoring closely the progress of these soldiers and the Somali government’s capacity to establish a functional command and control structure to further employ them. Any possible further Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) engagement will depend on the successful outcome of the current initiative.
As a founding member of the International Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, the EU is substantially involved in the ongoing international naval operations against piracy off the Horn of Africa through the EU operation NAVFOR ATALANTA. Although the escorting of WFP and AMISOM ships is largely successful, the situation at sea is more and more challenging, as a result of new modus operandi by pirates using large mother ships enabling them to be more mobile and to go further from the Somali coast and to stay for longer periods at sea. The level of violence employed by the pirates is constantly increasing. A multitude of comprehensive measures to tackle the piracy problem is urgently needed to respond more effectively to the scourge of piracy, including a multipronged approach tackling the root causes. The solution to the problem is foremost on land. We need to support countries in the region in building regional maritime capacities. It is also urgent to take action in the fight against impunity for piracy crimes and to support the development and enhancement of legal, judicial and penitentiary measures in the countries of the region. The Kampala process bringing together TFG, Puntland and Somaliland should be further developed.
There is no purely military solution to the conflict in Somalia. The strengthening of AMISOM in particular must go together with an upgraded and comprehensive political strategy based on widening the TFG support base. Regrettably, the TFIs have been unable to reach out to others, and in consequence sub-regional authorities such as in Puntland and Galmudug express their frustration. This must be addressed.
We support efforts for a shortening of the extension of the transitional period; but, at the same time, it is necessary to ensure that any extension is linked to reforms. Indeed, in order to conclude the transitional period and finalise the constitution, we believe that the TFG should develop more effective governance and consensus-building during the run-up to August 2011 and beyond. For this purpose, it is urgent that the TFIs advance a reform agenda to enable the delivery of services to the Somali people and to build legitimacy and credibility. A Somali-driven reform of the federal institutions needs to be worked out expeditiously, as well as a National Security Strategy setting the parameters for stabilisation of Mogadishu and conflict-torn parts of south and central Somalia.
The challenges of Somalia need to be dealt with through a comprehensive approach covering political reconciliation, security and development, as well as human rights. In this regard, the participation of Somali women in the decision making process and in the political sphere, which has been decreasing in the past years, should be encouraged as a way to promote peace and reconciliation.
Bearing in mind the impact of the Somali situation on other countries of the region and beyond, it is therefore of key importance that the international community remains actively engaged to fully support the efforts of the UNSG Special Representative for Somalia, Ambassador Mahiga.
It is essential to put in place an influential approach allowing for dialogue, understanding and moving the Somali peace process forward. The next International Contact Group meeting on Somalia will be helpful in this regard.
* Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.