Joint Statement by the A-3 (Gabon, Ghana & Mozambique) on the Situation in Somalia
Madame la Presidente,
J’ai l’honneur de faire cette déclaration au nom des membres du A3, à savoir le Gabon, le Mozambique et le Ghana Nous exprimons nos remerciements envers Mme Anita Kiki Gbeho, Représentante spéciale adjointe pour la Somalie et Chef par intérim de la Mission d’assistance des Nations Unies en Somalie (MANUSOM), Son Excellence M. Mohammed El-Amine Souef, Représentant spécial de l’Union africaine (UA) et Chef de la Mission de transition de l’UA en Somalie (ATMIS), Mme Sima Bahous, Secrétaire générale adjointe et Directrice exécutive d’ONU-Femmes que … le représentant de la société civile pour leurs séances d’information détaillées. Nous nous félicitons également de la participation à cette séance du représentant de la Somalie.
The members of the A-3 welcome the significant progress being made by the Federal Government of Somalia in pursuing its key national priorities, particularly its six pillars for the period spanning 2022 to 2026. We welcome, in particular, the holding of the meetings of the National Consultative Council, presided over by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, aimed at advancing cooperation between the Federal Government and the Federal Member States, the efforts to accelerate the pace of negotiations with Somaliland, the strengthening of ties between federal and regional institutions of government, and efforts to ensure political stability. We acknowledge the progress made on the chapter of cooperation between the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States, as well as the generation of forces and the handover of Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) within the context of the Security Transition and the operationalization of the Somali Security Forces and Somali National Army.
We applaud President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s leadership in fostering an atmosphere more amenable to peaceful co-existence throughout the country by the significant initiatives he has taken to advance inclusive political dialogue. The Somali President’s numerous visits to frontline locations in the country to provide his personal support to continuing reconciliation efforts are highly commendable. We advocate the full and effective participation of women in Somalia’s peacebuilding efforts. The participation of Somali women at key decision-making levels is vital for good governance and long-term peace within the broader development spectrum. In this regard, we applaud the launch on 5th September, 2022, of the Somali National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of the Somali Women’s Charter and UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), requiring parties to a conflict to ensure that women’s rights are respected, their participation in peace talks and post-conflict reconstruction encouraged, and females safeguard from sexual violence during and after armed conflict.
We are confident that these measures would empower Somali women to make meaningful contributions to prevent and respond to violent extremism, climate change, humanitarian crises, and other threats to national security. On the security front, we note that Al-Shabaab, like other terrorist groups active in the Sahel, West and Southern Africa, continues to be a transnational threat. It is therefore imperative that additional efforts and resources are deployed to counter its ability to conduct operations in Somalia and other parts of the region. In this connection, we commend the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia for demonstrating a firm determination to eliminate the footprint of AlShabaab and applaud the people of Somali for rallying boldly behind their government in the ongoing offensive against Al-Shabaab. As confirmed by the briefing we have just received, the sustained operations by Somali Security Forces and ATMIS have resulted in the liberation of several regions of Somalia from Al-Shabaab, notably, HirShabelle and Galmudug. Also, the liberation of the port town of Harardheere, a key financial hub of Al-Shabaab, has been critical to the efforts to degrade the financial infrastructure of the terrorist organization and to the success of the ongoing battle against the terrorist group.
The significant progress being made could not have been accomplished without the support of key allies. In this regard, we take note of the various forms of support offered by partners that has enabled the Somalia Government to take the fight to Al-Shabaab. While commending the Somali Government for the progress made in the security sector, it is important to point out that Somalia still faces significant challenges. Much more work remains to be done. Al-Shabaab continues to maintain the ability to outwit the security forces, allowing it the potential to launch lethal attacks against security personnel, civilians, and government officials. We also note the need to improve the relations between the Federal Government and some Federal Member States, as well as between some opposition elements and several Federal Member States. Talks over Somaliland’s status have also made little progress, and critical state-building tasks, as well as funding gaps for STP implementation and the ATMIS mandate, continue to be a significant obstacle.
Against the backdrop of the extended timelines for Phase 1 of ATMIS CONOPS, established by resolution 2670, the A3 supports the call by ATMIS on this Council and international partners to assist in addressing the additional 15 million United States dollar deficit created by delayed drawdown of ATMIS in addition to the Mission’s other financing gap, and the Somali Government’s quest to obtain both lethal and non-lethal support to equip the newly-generated SNA units and to improve on their operational capabilities, particularly, as preparations are entrain for ATMIS complete withdrawal by December 2024. In this regard, we welcome the AU/UN joint roadshow to raise resources for ATMIS and encourage the efforts deployed in this regard by both organizations. We also support the initiative by the AU to accelerate the implementation of the STP. We however wish to caution that the sector-by-sector approach in terms of assessing ATMIS’ performances on its CONOPs, as indicated in resolution 2670, should be conducted carefully and with the participation of all relevant stakeholders in a manner that avoids compromising the security gains thus far achieved. Again, we take note of the return of the 3,500 Eritrean-trained SNA troops as well as those forces currently undergoing training in anticipation of the eventual exit of ATMIS. We are confident that these actions strengthen the capabilities of the Somali National Army and helps to advance the campaign against Al-Shabaab, for the benefit of the overall security of the country.
We continue to be alarmed by the humanitarian situation in Somalia brought on by a protracted drought following five consecutive years of failed rains, which has been aggravated by the effects of decades of conflict, mass displacement, and a fragile economic situation, that is driving some Somalis to the edge of starvation. As noted in the briefings today, almost 1.3 million people have been internally displaced as a result of the longest and most severe drought in Somalia’s recent history, and an estimated 6.4 million Somalis would likely experience severe food insecurity in the first quarter of this year. Since mid-2021, more than 3.5 million animals have already perished, decreasing children’s access to milk and contributing to their nutritional inadequacies. In the light of the growing number of Somali civilians in critical need of humanitarian assistance, we renew our call for humanitarian donors to respond urgently to the humanitarian call. We further emphasize the necessity to assist the country in tackling the fundamental cause of the recurrent and continuous humanitarian disaster created by climate change. Somalia has been one of the least contributors to the climate crisis, yet it faces the most severe consequences. Its conditions demonstrate the link between climate change and security in Africa and requires the support of major economies in addressing the country’s vulnerabilities to the vagaries of climate.
We acknowledge the importance of the Summit of the Heads of State and Government of Somalia and its neighbours – Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya – held on 1st February 2023 in Mogadishu. To completely free Somalia of the influence of Al-Shabaab and to facilitate the drawdown of ATMIS troops and the gradual transfer of security responsibilities to the Somali security forces, we support the recommendations outlined at that important Summit, including the agreement reached to make a final push for joint operations in areas still under the control of Al-Shabaab. As a security transition predicated on the departure of ATMIS by the end of 2024 rapidly approaches, we urge this Council to rethink the comprehensive removal of the arms embargo on Somalia, which is essential in the fight against Al- Shabaab and vital to the country’s peace and stability. The A3 call on the international community to support Somalia in building her capacity in terms of training, logistics, anti-mining and human rights compliance. With the scheduled departure of African Union troops, it is imperative that the Somali Defense and Security Forces be able to fulfil their sovereign duty to secure their territory.
In conclusion, we wish to recall the provision of resolution 2670, relating to the decision to convene a formal meeting on the transition in Somalia no later than 31 March with the participation of Somalia, AU, EU and ATMIS as well as Troop Contributing Countries. We believe that such a meeting could provide a unique platform to discuss ways and means of aligning priorities between ATMIS CONOPS and the Somali Transition Plan. Gabon, Ghana, and Mozambique, reaffirm their support and commitment to Somalia’s sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity. We further encourage the Council and all key partners to take this into account as we seek to deliver long-term peace and stability for Somalia. We urge the Federal Government of Somalia to lead the transition plan and direct all essential partnerships.
I thank you.