What's In Blue

Somalia Briefing and Consultations on UN Mission, AU Mission and Sanctions

Tomorrow (11 March), Special Representative of the Secretary-General Nicholas Kay is scheduled to brief the Council on the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). Kay will likely be briefing via videoconference from Mogadishu. It was unclear at press time, if Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and head of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) would also participate via videoconference. The briefing is to be followed by consultations with Council members. Council members will also hold consultations with Ambassador Oh Joon (Republic of Korea), chair of the Somalia-Eritrea 751/1907 Sanctions Committee.

An informal interactive dialogue with Council members, initially scheduled for Monday afternoon, has been postponed. Kay, Annadif, AMISOM Force Commander Lieutenant General Silas Ntigurirwa and the President’s National Security Advisor Abdirahman Sheikh Issa were all expected to participate. However, given the launch of joint military offensives against Al-Shabaab by AMISOM and the Somali National Army on 6 March, it seems that a decision was made that it would be important for them to remain in Mogadishu during this period. (Initial media reports suggest that the offensive has been successful in capturing control over several towns in the Bay and Gedo regions of south-central Somalia.)

Kay will be briefing the Council on the report of the Secretary-General on UNSOM released 3 March (S/2014/140) and other recent developments. Some significant events which Kay may discuss include: the 21 December appointment of Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed and the formation of a new cabinet on 17 January; the election of a new President in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland on 8 January; and recent attacks by Al-Shabaab in Mogadishu, including the targeting of a UN convoy on 13 February and the presidential palace on 21 February. Council members will be looking for the latest information on the military offensive against Al-Shabaab.

Kay may also choose to highlight the work of UNSOM in a few critical areas, such as providing support for the New Deal Somalia Compact and collaborating with AMISOM and the government to implement the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.
Council members are also likely to be keen to hear about changes within AMISOM, particularly implementation of resolution 2124, which authorised an increase in the troop ceiling from 17,731 to 22,126. (On 22 January, 4,295 troops from the Ethiopian National Defence Forces were formally integrated into AMISOM largely through re-hatting from existing troops deployed within Somalia). On 21 January, the AU Peace and Security Council endorsed a revised Concept of Operations (CONOPS) for AMISOM that had been developed by the AU Commission. In addition to the incorporation of the Ethiopian troops and the endorsement of the new CONOPS, Council members may ask about the status of the trust fund for AMISOM.

During consultations tomorrow, Council members will also be briefed by Ambassador Oh on the activities of the Somalia-Eritrea 751/1907 Sanctions Committee. Likely topics to be covered include: the 6 February report of the Federal Government of Somalia on arms, findings of the mid-term report of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group submitted to the committee on 6 February, and implementation of resolution 2142 (which on 5 March extended the partial lifting of the arms embargo until 25 October). In addition to discussion regarding regulation of small arms and light weapons, Council members may also be interested in an update on implementation of the embargo on the export of charcoal from Somalia, which has been a significant source of financing for Al-Shabaab in the past.

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