What's In Blue

Posted Mon 14 May 2012

Somalia Briefing and Consultations

Tomorrow morning (Tuesday, 15 May), the Council is scheduled to be briefed by Special Representative Augustine Mahiga on the Secretary-General’s report of 1 May on Somalia (S/2012/283). Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has also been invited to address the Council. Mahiga’s briefing is expected to focus on political issues, in particular the ongoing constitutional process and recent controversies over the draft constitution, which is a key part of the implementation of the roadmap for ending the transition in Somalia. Following informal consultations, there is likely to be a press statement reinforcing some of the Council’s previous messages about its expectations with regard to implementation of the roadmap.

This afternoon (14 May), Mahiga was scheduled to brief the Sanctions Committee for Somalia and Eritrea. He was expected to elaborate on the issue of “spoilers”, which was addressed in the Secretary-General’s report. (The report called for stronger action against those impeding the political process, asserting that “those members of parliament who delay or obstruct the political process should be put on notice that their actions will have consequences” and that “strong measures must be implemented.”)

This call for stronger measures against spoilers was supported by the AU and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in a 1 May joint letter with the UN. The letter expressed concern that the roadmap continued to be “jeopardized by the actions of individuals and groups in and out of Somalia working to undermine the fragile progress” of recent months.

In addition to concerns about spoilers, the implementation of the roadmap and in particular the constitutional process is likely to be a focus of tomorrow’s discussions. The Secretary-General’s report said that there had been considerable progress in implementing the roadmap, but that some tasks had been delayed, mainly due to lack of resources and the continuing impasse in the Transitional Federal Parliament. The report noted that tensions had started to rise—both within the Transitional Federal Institutions as well as between the Transitional Federal Government, Somaliland and Puntland—as the 20 August deadline for ending the transition neared.

Since the Secretary-General’s report was issued, these growing tensions have been evident in the constitutional process. (A group of Somali elders is now meeting in Mogadishu to appoint the 825 members of the National Constituent Assembly which is to convene on 15 May to consider the draft constitution and adopt it no later than 22 May.) Among Somalis, concerns about the inclusiveness and transparency of the process, as well as inadequate public consultations on the draft constitution, have been raised and there are also serious differences over the role of Islam. Additionally, the President of Puntland, Abdirahman Sheikh Mohamud Farole, reportedly sent a letter to the UN, the AU and IGAD on 4 May expressing grave concern about the proposed draft constitution, in particular with regard to principles of federalism. The letter proposed holding an emergency meeting with key Somali stakeholders and the international community which may take place later this week.

The upcoming international conference on Somalia to be held in Istanbul on 31 May and 1 June is also likely to be part of the Council’s discussions. It will provide another opportunity for the international community to coordinate its approach to Somalia and help keep the transitional process on track as well as planning for the post-transitional period.

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