Somalia Open Debate
On Monday (5 March) the Council is scheduled to hold an open debate on Somalia as a follow up to the 23 February London Conference. The UK has proposed a draft presidential statement (PRST) endorsing the conference communiqué, which is expected to be adopted at the end of the debate. A high-level official from the UK foreign office, Under Secretary of State (Africa) Henry Bellingham, will chair the meeting. There will also be a briefing by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Augustine Mahiga by video conference. Others likely to speak include Turkey (which will be hosting a conference on Somalia in June) and other regional and donor countries.
It appears that the draft PRST will endorse the London Conference outcome (see our March Forecast on Somalia) and reiterate some of the key messages on the political process. Additionally, it seems it will emphasise the need for continued support of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), both bilaterally and through the UN AMISOM trust fund, and for the development of Somali security forces while calling on AMISOM to continue efforts to ensure the protection of civilians. The draft PRST apparently also stresses the importance of effective governance and encourages international support for reconstruction and economic development, as well as continued humanitarian assistance. Lastly, it looks set to express concern about the continued threats of piracy and terrorist attacks by the Islamist rebel group Al-Shabaab and others.
Council members are generally supportive of the UK’s efforts to enhance the international community’s engagement on Somalia and appear happy to endorse the outcome of the London Conference. However, it seems that those Council members who were not present in London are still studying the communiqué and are looking carefully at how some of the new mechanisms, such as the Joint Financial Management Board (tasked with maximising “the productive use in the public interest […] of national assets and resources received from external development assistance” while ensuring transparency and accountability), will impact on the role of the UN. They are also examining the implications of the new framework created in London in relation to the Council’s overall role on Somalia.
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