European Union Statement – UN Security Council Private Meeting: Somalia
27 March 2023, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union by Dr. Annette Weber, EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, at the UN Security Council Private Meeting on Somalia
Thank you very much, Mr. President, and let me thank you for the opportunity to brief the Security Council on Somalia. I address you on behalf of the European Union.
Let me begin by commending the bravery of the Somali people and forces who are leading the current operations against al-Shabaab. They are sending a strong signal to the world that they seek a different trajectory for Somalia, one where al-Shabaab has no future. Some have paid the ultimate price and I want to offer my sincere condolences to the families of fallen soldiers and to the Somali people who have suffered and lived in conflict for more than 30 years. Let me also send condolences to the families of fallen AMISOM and ATMIS soldiers, their sacrifice will not be forgotten. We all owe them our gratitude and respect.
Security operations in Somalia continue and are reaching a crucial phase, putting increasing pressure put on al-Shabaab. Several countries in the region have committed to training forces. We welcome the Frontline State Summit held in February and President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud’s appeal for regional engagement on what continues be a threat to regional peace and security. We are encouraged by the commitments by Somalia’s neighbors to support the next phase of operations.
The EU also continues to train and equip the Somali National Army, and build defense and security institutions, through our CSDP Missions. We have recently allocated 85 million euros for the military component ATMIS for 2023 and an additional 33 million euros for its civilian and police components for 2023 and 2024, bringing our total support to the UN-mandated mission so far to more than 2.5 billion euros since its inception. We urge other partners to also contribute to the mission and stand ready to engage in a discussion on how best ATMIS can support current operations.
This year, we have also increased our support to the Somali National Army to 25 million euros and contributed 16 million euros to stabilization, adding to our significant humanitarian support. There are no quick wins when it comes to fighting al-Shabaab. We all have to ensure that the operations are sustained through inclusive long-term planning – and that they are supplemented by holding forces and stabilization efforts led by local authorities. The Somali people continue to risk everything for a better future and the fight against al-Shabaab will not be won without their full support.
The operations are taking place in parallel with the transition from ATMIS to Somali-led security as stipulated in UNSCR 2628 and 2670. Timelines are ambitious and linked to significant reform of the Somali security sector. The benchmarks requested in UNSCR 2628 have been formulated jointly by the FGS, UN, AU, and EU in the Quartet. Now, almost exactly a year into the ATMIS mandate, very few of these benchmarks have been achieved. We urge implementation by all actors and encourage long-term planning, including with the TCCs and the AU, on a post-ATMIS security architecture.
In addition to security operations, the Somali government is pursuing an ambitious reform program and has reached agreements on power sharing, justice model, fiscal federalism and the National Security Architecture. This is a remarkable achievement. It is crucial that all Federal Member States engage constructively in Somalia’s state-building, including through participation in the National Consultative Council.
We are confident that our Somali partners will continue to deliver on political settlements on core issues, including on an electoral model at the next NCC meeting in May. The next step will then be to expand political participation, move away from ad hoc decision-making forums towards institutional and constitutional decision-making to take Somalia forward. This would be a significant milestone in the state-building process and the EU remains committed to support.
Over the last months, the European Union has had an unprecedented engagement with the Federal Government of Somalia We have recently drafted a roadmap for joint priorities within security, politics and state-building, and socio-economic development. It is our hope and aim to deliver on these priorities with the current administration, with which Somalia will take a remarkable leap in its state-building process.
While the international community is focusing on the fight against al-Shabaab, a conflict is unfolding in Las Anod. Hundreds have been killed and thousands been displaced. I urge the parties to reinstate the cease-fire and engage in negotiations for a long-term settlement and enable humanitarian access. This conflict is a symptom of unaddressed grievances in certain communities and a lack of political settlement on the status of Somaliland. A long-term solution has to be identified.
The worst drought in four decades is ravaging Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa and after multiple failed rains, one cannot help but wonder whether this is yet another drought or the new normal for the Somali people. More than seven million people, over half the population, are food insecure and millions are displaced. We know that al-Shabaab both exploit vulnerable communities to their advantage; and deteriorates the fragile situation further by destroying water infrastructure and imposing taxation. Since 2017, the EU has committed half a billion euros to humanitarian needs in Somalia.
The European Union remains committed to a holistic approach in Somalia and delivery upon our promises remains a high priority. The ongoing operations and the commitment by the Federal Government of Somalia presents a unique opportunity for advancing on the fight against al-Shabaab and strengthening the foundations of the State. Delivery requires strong encouragement by a more unified international community. We appreciate and look forward to the renewed cooperation. Thank you, Mr. President.
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