[Mme./Mr] President, Members of the Security Council, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for the invitation to make this statement on behalf of the EU.
Today, we have four messages to deliver:
Putting politics at the centre
First: it is critical to put politics at the centre. The constitutional four-year mandate of the President of Somalia ended on 8th February without a political agreement on how elections should be conducted. This is a risk for Somalia and if not addressed urgently will become a risk to regional security. We urge Somali leaders to resume dialogue and to work in a spirit of compromise to overcome the last political hurdles to inclusive elections as soon as possible and respecting the agreement they reached on 17th September 2020. Together with other partners, we have been calling for calm and restraint by all parties following armed tensions in Mogadishu over the weekend. Parties must all come together without delay to reduce further tensions and seek to break the current political deadlock over the holding of elections. The people of Somalia deserve the full dedication of their leaders to their safety, wellbeing and progress.
Any progress on the security side can only underpin a political settlement but cannot deliver it. Conversely, sustainable security relies on political settlement. The Government and the Federal Member States (FMS) must reconcile and work together to achieve the best prospect for stability by addressing its root causes, as well as its symptoms. If Somalia’s leaders fail to come to political arrangements, al-Shabaab and other spoilers will benefit. The gains made to move Somalia to debt relief also risk being squandered.
Time is therefore now for us, together, to reinforce our commitment towards a more comprehensive political and stabilisation approach. Only this can be a meaningful basis for allowing space for Somalia to lead its security post-2021 and for the African Union (AU), the neighbours and partners to continue providing support.
Continuing progress on security
Secondly: we need to continue progress on security. Against the backdrop of multiple drivers for conflict within Somalia and across the region, we welcome the progress made in the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS)–led review of the Somali Transition Plan (STP) in collaboration with international partners. And we encourage the FGS to finalise its review, and formally endorse the STP at the National Security Council, with full participation of the FMS, and the high-level Security and Justice Committee.
Through the process of reviewing the STP, Somalia has communicated its strategic vision. Having a plan for the future that shows a credible path to Somali security transition is the best way to ensure predictability and stability for Somalia and the region, and to tie down donor support. To continue to support this ongoing process though, we need to be able to understand how Government will extend control across Somalia and what resources will be required. In this regard, we look forward to considering further details at the forthcoming Force Generation Conference as well as through the revised CONOPS concerning the ways and means required to realise the Plan’s ambitions.
The vision set out in the revised STP is testament to AMISOM’s success in rebuilding Somali security and the capability of its security forces. It means that over the coming years, the Somali authorities will increasingly need support to enable their own activities rather than relying on external forces. The revised STP is clear that a reconfigured AU mission is best placed to provide this; and also recognises that a reconfigured mission will need to retain the ability to fight al-Shabaab.
We further acknowledge the conclusion of the Independent Assessment as mandated by the UNSC. Together, these milestones give us an indication of the various options to boost the current security and state building operation. They offer a better view of what is required to counter the threat from al-Shabaab and the various other challenges to security and state building.
Strengthening the capacity of Somalia security and governance actors in order to take over the responsibility to protect their people must remain a key objective of all of Somalia’s partners. However, it is essential to address key questions and details such as force generation (how many is sufficient and for what purpose), training (by whom, to what standard, and for what purpose), and how bilateral engagement can support the overall vision. A reinforced mechanism for bringing the different Somali actors and international security providers together to ensure a joined approach seems essential.
A more balanced approach should further emphasize the prevention and countering of violent extremism and organised crime, including financing, as a complement to the military engagement both on the land and in the maritime domain to counter the evolving threat. Pivoting to a more comprehensive approach to security and stabilisation also necessitates strengthening public administration (especially public financial management), basic service provision, justice, and law enforcement.
The EU remains committed to Somalia’s state building efforts. Since 2014, our support has amounted to almost €1.6 billion in development and humanitarian assistance. Our investment in the security sector has been substantial, with more than €2.1 billion to AMISOM since 2007. We have secured funding (EUR 100 million) for AMISOM until the end of June 2021. In parallel, we have scaled up our support to provide non-lethal equipment to the Somali Security Forces engaged in transition operations alongside AMISOM amounting to EUR 40 million for 2019-2020. This has been implemented by UNOPS.
The EU has also extended for another 2 years its CSDP missions EUCAP Somalia and EUTM Somalia, which continue to support the capacity building of Somali Security Forces both on land and at sea. Additionally, Operation ATALANTA’s mandate was expanded to include secondary executive and non-executive tasks of countering trafficking of weapons and narcotic drugs, and monitoring various illegal activities at sea. With these adjustments, Operation ATALANTA will support the UN arms embargo on Somalia and the ongoing fight against al-Shabaab and its funding streams. While at the same time maintaining its core effort to counter piracy and protect the World Food Programme and other vulnerable shipping to Somalia.
Further, the EU’s contribution of EUR 23 million to the Joint Police Programme, also implemented by UNOPS, complements donor contributions from Germany and the UK. Additionally, our support to UNMAS is enhancing local resilience and capacity to address the problem of explosive hazards in Somalia.
Rebuilding a regional political consensus
Our third message is linked to the need to rebuild the former regional political consensus that previously existed when AMISOM was launched ten years ago. The future stability of Somalia lies in a robust and honest political engagement, both within Somalia and with the region. It should be aimed at attaining a lasting political solution with a continuity of engagement from the region to serve as positive enablers. This underlines the necessity of regional and multilateral cooperation, and we welcome the leadership role of the AU, in close coordination with UN and IGAD. The EU will continue to support a broader engagement between partners across the wider region and would wholeheartedly encourage more dialogue in this regard.
Reflecting beyond 2021
Our fourth and last message is about the work ahead in 2021 and the need to define a post-2021 security framework. In building and supporting Somalia’s vision as expressed in the STP, we need to take into account the situation on the ground. There is broad agreement within the International Community that continued support from an international mission is necessary, that more accountability from all stakeholders is needed, and that the AU is best placed to continue to provide this. This will require strong political engagement by the AU in Somalia to support delivery on both political reforms and security.
We recognize that until its full drawdown, the AU will have to continue to play an important role in supporting the security transition process. Collective efforts are more than ever needed for peace and security in Somalia and the region as well as to safeguard the progress made.
That progress made over the years has only been possible due to the sacrifices made by Africa’s sons and daughters. Allow me therefore to pay tribute to the ultimate price paid by African Troop and Police Contributing countries of AMISOM to peace and security in Somalia.
The discussions today in the UN Security Council on the AMISOM mandate create an opportunity to generate a shared vision and should lead us further to explore national, regional and international expectations for Somalia’s political and security landscape post-2021.
The steps needed in 2021 to prepare for implementation of the STP, as the revision of the CONOPS and a reconfigured AU mission in 2022, must be clear.
The EU considers that the renewed AMISOM mandate in the UNSC should support the mission in this reconfiguration process. It should allow the AU the necessary time, space and ownership to consider, and act upon the conclusions of the various processes such as the revised STP and the UN Independent Assessment; as well as its own forthcoming analysis and assessment.
We therefore encourage the AU to use this opportunity to set out its own vision, as well as the requirements and commitments needed to ensure that a new mandate contributes to building Somalia’s ability to manage its own security in the medium term. With the appropriate political will, this will help ensure that Somalis take leadership and ownership of the country's recovery efforts.
The AU’s independent assessment and the PSC mandate renewal in May should set a direction which can be captured in a new UN Security Council resolution at the end of December 2021. The EU thus welcomes a 10-month renewal of the mandate, to allow space for discussions on the shape of a post-2021 mission to take place.
As regards the EU, while we continue to call on all partners for a more balanced donor structure, the EU’s commitment to support peace, stability and development in Somalia is long-term. Discussions with our Member States on a follow-up instrument to fund African peace support operations beyond 2021 are ongoing. This process will be informed by the parameters for Somalia’s security architecture post-2021 that, as seen, are yet to be determined in more detail.