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Catriona Laing to end tenure as UN envoy in Somalia on May 21


Monday April 22, 2024


Special Representative Catriona Laing addresses the Security Council on Somalia's challenges in New York, 22 June 2023. (Credit / UN)

MOGADISHU (HOL) — Catriona Laing, the United Nations Special Representative to Somalia, will end her year-long tenure on May 21, 2024, the United Nations announced today. Laing was appointed in 2023 by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Reflecting on her tenure, Laing expressed optimism for Somalia's future. "I have full confidence that Somalia will succeed and that the African Union and United Nations, along with our international partners, will continue to play a crucial role in supporting Somalis on their path to peace and stability," she stated. "For me, Somalia is a place of hope and friendship, and I will continue to support and advocate for Somalia wherever I am."

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Laing expressed continued optimism for Somalia's future. "I have full confidence that Somalia will succeed and that the African Union and United Nations, along with our international partners, will continue to play a crucial role in supporting Somalis on their path to peace and stability," she stated. "For me, Somalia is a place of hope and friendship, and I will continue to support and advocate for Somalia wherever I am."

Laing's tenure as a UN Special Representative to Somalia was notably shorter than those of her predecessors, some of whom served up to three years. The reasons for her early departure remain unclear.

Laing's departure coincides with a shift in international efforts to bolster Somalia. The UN-backed African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) is in the process of gradually withdrawing troops, a transition that is set to culminate in December 2024. ATMIS has already completed the first two phases, pulling out 5,000 troops and handing over control of 13 military bases to the Somali Security Forces.

Her exit also coincides with a constitutional crisis involving the Federal Member State of Puntland. The state has opposed proposed amendments to the national constitution and suspended participation in federal institutions pending a nationwide referendum.

Earlier this month, Laing visited Garowe, the capital of Puntland, where she met with the state's leader, Said Abdullahi Deni. During the meeting she expressed "concerns on some substantive elements and also around the (constitutional) process."

The process to select her successor is ongoing, with an announcement expected next month.

Before her role in Somalia, Laing was the British High Commissioner to Nigeria and British Ambassador to Zimbabwe. 



 





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