Somalia: “Al-Shabaab remains a serious threat” – Security Council Briefing

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  • United Nations published this video item, entitled “Somalia: “Al-Shabaab remains a serious threat” – Security Council Briefing” – below is their description.

    “Al-Shabaab remains a serious threat manifesting the ability to plan and execute complex attacks on a range of targets across Somalia,” the top UN official in the country told the Security Council, warning at the same time of a “dire” humanitarian situation, “with 5.9 million Somalis – or more than one-third of the population — in need of humanitarian assistance this year.”

    Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia James Swan was briefing the Security Council via videolink on Tuesday (25 May) and said that “Al Shabaab has demonstrated both initiative and resilience in recent months. The operations of the Somali Security Forces and AMISOM therefore remain crucial in maintaining the pressure on this group.”

    Swan also said that “while 80 per cent of the country is impacted by drought conditions, heavy rains are at the same time causing seasonal flash flooding in some riverine areas. Erratic climatic shocks have led to greater displacement and increased food insecurity.”

    He noted that “regrettably, only 19 percent of the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2021 has so far been funded he and appealed to member states to “make further contributions.”

    On a positive side, Swan informed the Council that Somalia has received the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility in March and “as of today, Somalia has been able to administer 42 per cent of 300,000 doses of the vaccines it had received. Going forward, it is essential that the international community continue to support Somalia’s needs for achieving optimal vaccination coverage.”

    On the political side, the talks between Federal Government and Federal Member State leaders have resumed last week, following a break down in April, and subsequent adoption by the House of the People of the Somali Parliament of a “Special Law” abandoning the 17 September electoral agreement, reverting to a one-person-one-vote model, and extending the mandates of current office-holders for up to two more years. Opposition to these moves led to the mobilization of militias and exposed divisions within Somali security forces. Violent clashes ensued on 25 April, risking broader conflict.

    Swan informed the Council that , under intense pressure, the House of the People on 1 May reversed the Special Law, at the request of the President who empowered the Prime Minister to lead the Federal Government involvement in the electoral process, including security arrangements and negotiations with Federal Member States.

    In this regard, Mohamed Abdirizak, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Federal Government of Somalia said “the negotiations process has not been easy, and this demonstrates how vital consensus remains and without consensus how fragile peace in Somalia is and how fragile our institutions of government remain. However, we have now reached an agreement that will lead Somalia to free elections, fair elections. Going forward, Somalia needs to have a predictable political transition based on elections that are inclusive, credible, free and fair. This is a challenge and opportunity which Somali people, government and their partners must capitalize on to ensure sustainable development in the country.”

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