| Somalia: Statement by the United States Special Representative for Somalia.|
Fri, 24 May 2013 08:38:08 -0400 am -04:00 -14400
U.S. Embassy, Nairobi, Kenya
Ambassador James Swan
Briefing for African Media
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The United States takes a comprehensive approach to Somalia – one that reflects the inter-related security, political, and humanitarian/development issues. Improving security, stability, and governance in Somalia is central to addressing many related concerns – including piracy, terrorism, human rights abuses, and underdevelopment. The United States’ approach places Somalis and Africans in the lead, and looks to regional organizations such as the African Union as a guide.
Security must remain a priority to create conditions for political progress and improved humanitarian access. Recent progress against al-Shabaab in Mogadishu and areas of western Somalia rests on the extraordinary courage, professionalism, and commitment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), along with Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces and their allies.
In compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions, the international community must assist the TFG's National Security Forces (NSF) in developing a more efficient and capable security sector to withstand the security challenges that face Somalia every day. Since 2007, the United States has obligated more than $106 million to support the NSF – including payment of salary stipends to TFG troops, and train and equip programs. We remain committed to this effort.
It is also time to build upon AMISOM’s successes. AMISOM now has the opportunity to contribute to a multi-front operation to stabilize the situation in Somalia, help end al-Shabaab’s imposition of draconian social control on subject populations, and overturn its ban on the delivery of vital humanitarian relief. To this end, we support in principle an expansion of AMISOM’s mandate and a commensurate increase in its force levels, along with force enablers.
The United States has been a steadfast supporter of AMISOM since its inception. Since 2007, the United States has obligated nearly $340 million in voluntary assistance to AMISOM Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs), and provided approximately $150 million for its share of assessed costs for the UN Support Office for the AU Mission in Somalia (UNSOA). The cost of an expanded AMISOM mission, augmented troop levels and associated logistics included, will significantly increase the assessed costs for all UN Member States. Furthermore, with the proposed troop increase, the donor community will be faced with tens of millions in additional bilateral costs to train and equip the new forces. Hence, we must be realistic about the costs of an expanded AMISOM – and about the urgent need for new, significant donors to help cover these expenses.
The political track is also showing some encouraging signs of progress. The United States very much welcomes the results of the Garowe II constitutional conference, held in Garowe, Puntland, Feb. 15-17. This meeting was a continuation of the Djibouti Peace Process, as further shaped by the June 2011 Kampala Accord, the September 2011 Roadmap to end the Transition, and the December 2011 Garowe Principles. The Garowe II meeting helpfully broadened participation to included additional civil society representatives, and enshrined their role in selection of the Independent Interim Electoral Commission, and in the new Constituent Assembly and Parliament.
The Somali Roadmap signatories and the international community are unified in the view that the transition must end on August 20, 2012. Garowe offers valuable focus and precision to guide completion of the most important Roadmap tasks necessary to end the transition on schedule. The road ahead is clear and both Somalis and the international community must now roll up our sleeves to ensure that agreed steps are implemented. That means supporting efforts by the TFG and UN to continue to expand political dialogue to include local leaders. It also means sending a clear signal that the international community will not tolerate spoilers.
The protracted humanitarian crisis in Somalia – highlighted by the famine in summer 2011 – underscores the urgent need for capable governance for the benefit of the people that can only come from improved security and a stable political settlement. The announcement of the end of the famine – as technically defined – reflects a massive international humanitarian response, as well as the good fortune of an exceptionally good short rainy season. Nonetheless, millions of Somalis remain in fragile conditions of food insecurity. Al-Shabaab’s expulsion of relief agencies from areas it controls further contributes to the suffering of the people.
Continued international support will be required. The United States has provided approximately $210 million in humanitarian assistance for Somali since early 2011. We remain committed to additional assistance to respond to needs, and to bridging quickly to recovery, reconstruction, and development.
Local Administration and Stabilization
The United States believes a key priority that straddles security, politics, and recovery is how to govern and assist in areas recaptured from al-Shabaab. These include locations in the outskirts of Mogadishu, as well as new locations in western and southern Somalia. It is urgent to avoid a security and governance vacuum in these locations, and to provide a rapid recovery where al-Shabaab has left.
We welcome the TFG’s strategy for reconciliation and stabilization in south and central Somalia, especially its emphasis on both “bottom up” grassroots governance as well as the need for links back to the central government. We recognize as well that this work should be integrated with other efforts to encourage inclusive governance in Somalia’s regions, including IGAD initiatives.
No matter how detailed these plans are, their success will be far from certain if local administrators are unable to provide law and order and deliver a rapid “peace dividend.” The United States is contributing to this effort through its “Transition Initiatives for Stabilization” program, which supports community development projects in Mogadishu’s Benadir Region, Somaliland, Gedo, and Puntland. But much more needs to be done – and quickly.
Finally, the United States welcomes the February 23 London Conference as an occasion to galvanize high-level international attention for Somalia at this moment of opportunity. London will be anchored in processes led by the region and the African Union, and coordinated by the United Nations with strong support from international partners.
We support the agenda to address key issues including: support for AMISOM and TFG security forces; political reforms to end the transition; local administration and stabilization programs; improved transparency and accountability; enhancement of counter-terrorism and counter-piracy measures; a reaffirmed commitment to humanitarian response; and refinement of international architecture to guide our future collective efforts on Somalia.
As with all international meetings, post-conference action will be the true test of success in London – and we are fully committed to the hard work that will follow.
Public Affairs Officer | Somalia Affairs Unit | U.S. Embassy, Nairobi
Office 254-20-363-6181 | Fax: 254-20-363-6329 | somalia.usvpp.gov