Thursday June 7, 2018
By Edith M. Lederer
Somali security forces secure the scene of an explosion outside Weheliye Hotel in Maka al Mukarama street in Mogadishu, Somalia March 22, 2018. (Reuters)
The U.N. Security Council warned Thursday that "internal and external
pressures risk undermining Somalia's political unity" and expressed
serious concern at the ongoing threats posed by the al-Shabab Islamic
A presidential statement approved by the 15-member council calls for
stepped-up efforts "to prevent destabilizing effects of regional crises
and disputes from spilling over into Somalia" and to support the
country's federal system and institutions.
Somalia, which borders restive Kenya and lies across the Gulf of Aden
from conflict-wracked Yemen, began to fall apart in 1991, when warlords
ousted dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other. Years of
conflict and attacks by al-Shabab, along with famine, shattered the
country of some 12 million people. It has been trying to rebuild since
establishing its first functioning transitional government in 2012.
Al-Shabab, which is fighting to impose Shariah law across Somalia, was
pushed out of the capital, Mogadishu, and other major urban cities more
than two years ago. But the extremist group still carries out suicide
attacks across Somalia.
The presidential statement coincided with meetings in Somalia's capital,
Mogadishu, on Thursday between U.N. political chief Rosemary DiCarlo
and senior government officials, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
He said she reiterated U.N. support for the country and quoted DiCarlo
as saying that "the unity of Somalis is essential to advance federalism,
reduce violence, defeat extremism and tackle the humanitarian
challenges and deliver real benefits to the population."
With a new federal government established, pressure is growing on
Somalia's military to assume full responsibility for the country's
security. But there are serious concerns about the military's takeover
as a 21,000-strong African Union force known as AMISOM begins a
withdrawal that is expected to be complete in 2020.
The Security Council statement said "AMISOM's role in enabling the transition to Somali-led security will be critical."
The council welcomed the peaceful election of a new speaker of the House
of the People, the lower house of parliament, and the resumption of the
federal parliament's activities.
It underscored the need for the government, parliament and states "to
work together in the interests of all Somalis," noting recent fighting
in the troubled northern Sool region between rival forces loyal to
Puntland and breakaway Somaliland.
The presidential statement also stressed that the government and states
need to make progress on issues including sharing power and resources,
reviewing the constitution and preparing for the first one-person
one-vote elections in 2020 and 2021.
The Security Council expressed "deep concern" at the humanitarian
situation in Somalia, including the risk of famine and impact of recent
flooding, and urged continued international support.