What's In Blue

Posted Sat 7 Nov 2015

Ministerial-Level Briefing and Resolution on UN Support Office in Somalia

On Monday (9 November), there will be a ministerial-level briefing on Somalia and an adoption of a resolution regarding the successor to the UN Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA). The briefing will be presided over by UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), are expected to brief. The Prime Minister of Somalia, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, is likely to attend, and a senior representative of the AU will either attend or participate via video-teleconference.

The draft resolution scheduled for adoption on Monday concerns the successor to UNSOA. It draws upon the findings and recommendations of a joint AU-UN review of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) conducted earlier this year, a 7 October letter from the Secretary-General and a 14 October briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare. The penholder, the UK, first circulated a draft text to Council members on Friday, 30 October. Negotiations were held on Monday and Tuesday; the draft cleared a silence procedure on Wednesday and was put into blue.

The draft resolution proposes a few changes consistent with the recommendations made in the Secretary-General’s letter. UNSOA will be renamed as the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) to reflect its actual client base, which in addition to its principal client AMISOM also includes UNSOM and the Somali National Army (SNA). The text, which is somewhat technical, also specifies the mandate of UNSOS and its precise tasks to support 22,126 AMISOM uniformed personnel, 70 AMISOM civilians, 10,900 SNA troops when on joint operations with AMISOM, and UNSOM.

The three African Council members – Angola, Chad and Nigeria – requested an extension of the initial silence procedure on Wednesday in order to allow for further discussion with the penholder. A few revisions were subsequently incorporated into the text that went under silence and into blue: a new preambular paragraph referencing the AU Peace and Security Council’s 18 September communiqué on UNSOA, additional language within the UNSOS mandate regarding the need to take into account the tempo of AMISOM’s operations when providing support, and a new reference to close coordination between the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the head of AMISOM with respect to the compliance of UNSOS support with the Secretary-General’s Human Rights Due Diligence Policy.

One of the key recommendations of the joint AU-UN review of AMISOM and the Secretary-General’s 7 October letter concerned providing non-lethal support packages to the Somali National Police and 3,000 Puntland troops being incorporated into the SNA. New Zealand proposed adding an operative paragraph recalling these recommendations, noting the Secretary-General’s latest assessment that this support should be provided by an entity other than UNSOA’s successor, and requesting the Secretary-General to keep the Council updated on identifying an entity to provide such support. This amendment was incorporated into the draft resolution.

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