New UN mission needed to consolidate peace in Somalia - official
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
A United Nations official has recommended the establishment of an
in-country UN mission to support the Somali government, as the
organisation believes foreign assistance is needed to further drive the
country’s recent political and security achievements and deal with its
many other challenges.
“The new mission represents a fresh start for the UN in Somalia and a
renewed commitment by the Council to support Somali-owned
peace-building,” Jeffrey Feltman, Under Secretary-General for Political
Affairs, told the 15-member Security Council.
He said the Somali federal government, led by President Hassan Sheikh
Mohamud, has been implementing its “Six Pillar Policy” for stabilisation
and peace-building in the country, reaching beyond Mogadishu in an
effort to realise its vision of building a unified federal state for the
country, which has been beset by conflict for over two decades.
He added government’s approach to building new regional administrations
is not accepted by all, with a draft charter ratified by three regions
for the establishment of a so-called Jubaland State in southern Somalia,
which the Government regards as unconstitutional.
In addition, the Islamist insurgent group Al-Shabaab remains a threat,
having retaken a significant town following the withdrawal of Ethiopian
troops and ramping up suicide bombings, underscoring the need to rapidly
As the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) was reaching its
“operational limit,” Feltman said that a better funded and co-ordinated
strategic security approach was required by the international community,
one that “recognises well-trained and equipped Somali forces are the
ultimate exit strategy for international military operations.”
He supported Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s view that a new political
mission should work with government on its peace-building and
state-building agenda, replacing the UN Political Office for Somalia
(UNPOS), which is based in Nairobi.
Its role, Feltman said, would be “to act as an enabler, helping to
create and galvanize the political and strategic environment in which
stabilisation and peace-building can proceed, including by leveraging
other parts of the UN system and international partners.”
In a March 2013 resolution renewing AMISOM’s authorisation, the Council
said it “agrees with the Secretary-General UNPOS has fulfilled its
mandate and should now be dissolved and further agrees UNPOS should be
replaced by a new expanded special political mission as soon as
In that resolution it said the revised UN presence in Somalia should
support recent political gains and address the urgent ongoing
humanitarian and human rights situations and include good offices,
advice and assistance on security, peacekeeping and state-building,
preparation for elections, human rights and the rule of law and
assistance for the co-ordination of international assistance.
The Council, in that resolution, also agreed with the secretary-general
that “conditions in Somalia are not yet appropriate for the deployment
of a UN peacekeeping operation”.
The United Nations was last actively involved in Somalia in the 1990s,
with the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) being created in
1992 as a peacekeeping force. Due to the ineffectiveness of this mission
to keep the peace and deliver humanitarian aid, the United States
offered to establish a multinational force under its own leadership,
leading to the Unified Task Force (UNITAF) to protect relief efforts.
In March 1993 the UN decided to transform the UNITAF mission into UNOSOM
II, with a mandate to continue relief efforts and restore peace and
stability. (UNITAF was subsequently dissolved.) UNOSOM II had more than
20 000 troops but was not able to successfully fulfil its
nation-building mission. Its most glaring failure was the inability to
capture warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid, whose forces were responsible for
the deaths of dozens of peacekeepers.
Following the October 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, in which 18 US soldiers
were killed, the US began pulling out of Somalia and completely departed
in March 1994. UNOSOM II troops followed shortly afterwards, with the
mission’s mandate ending in March 1995.