1 November 2001


Arta Peace Process Most Viable Basis
For Peace, Reconciliation, Says Council President

NEW YORK, 31 October (UN Headquarters) -- The Arta peace process remained the most viable basis for peace and national reconciliation in Somalia, the Security Council said in a presidential statement this morning.

As the Council adopted presidential statement S/PRST/2001/30, Security Council President Richard Ryan (Ireland) reaffirmed the Council's commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia, bearing in mind its respect for the country's sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity.

Calling on States and other actors to comply scrupulously with the arms embargo established by resolution 733 (1992), the Council insisted that all States should refrain from interfering in Somalia's internal affairs as such interference could jeopardize the country's sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity.

The Council urged the Transitional National Government, political and traditional leaders, as well as factions, to make every effort to complete the peace and reconciliation process through dialogue and involvement of all parties in a spirit of mutual accommodation and tolerance. It called on all parties to refrain from actions that undermined the Arta peace process and emphasized the need to achieve local political settlements, as well.

Acknowledging Djibouti's major contribution to the Arta peace process and welcoming that country's continuing role, the Council called on the concerned States in the Horn of Africa to contribute to the peace efforts in Somalia. It emphasized that long-term regional stability could most effectively be addressed if neighbouring States played a positive role in rebuilding Somalia's national institutions.

The meeting began at 10:28 a.m. and adjourned at 10:40 a.m.

The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2001/30 reads as follows:

"The Security Council, having considered the report of the Secretary-General of 11 October 2001 (S/2001/963) and having held a public meeting on 19 October 2001 (S/PV.4392 and S/PV.4392 resumption 1), reaffirms its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia, consistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and bearing in mind its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia.

"The Security Council reiterates its support for the outcome of the Arta peace conference, the establishment of the Transitional National Assembly and the Transitional National Government. It encourages the Transitional National Government to continue, in the spirit of constructive dialogue, the process of engaging all groups in the country, including in the north-eastern and north-western areas, with the view to preparing for the installation of permanent governance arrangements through the democratic process.

"The Security Council believes that the Arta peace process continues to be the most viable basis for peace and national reconciliation in Somalia. It urges the Transitional National Government, political and traditional leaders and factions in Somalia to make every effort to complete, without preconditions, the peace and reconciliation process through dialogue and involvement of all parties in a spirit of mutual accommodation and tolerance. It calls on all parties to refrain from actions that undermine the Arta peace process. The Council emphasizes that while the search for a national solution continues, unwavering attention must be paid to achieving local political settlements as well.

"The Security Council expresses its support for the Transitional National Government’s ongoing efforts to enhance security in the Mogadishu area and to make operational the National Commission for Reconciliation and Property Settlement, which should be independent, as foreseen in the Transitional National Charter. The Council emphasizes the necessity for efforts against international terrorism in accordance with resolution 1373 (2001) of 28 September 2001 and welcomes the stated intention of the Transitional National Government to take steps in this regard. The Council urges the international community, including through the Counterterrorism Committee established pursuant to resolution 1373 (2001), to provide assistance to Somalia for the implementation of the aforementioned resolution.

"The Security Council calls on the concerned States in the Horn of Africa to contribute constructively to the peace efforts in Somalia. It emphasizes that the situation in Somalia and the objective of long-term regional stability can most effectively be addressed if neighbouring States play a positive role, including in the process of rebuilding national institutions in Somalia.

"The Security Council acknowledges Djibouti’s major contribution to the Arta peace process and welcomes its continued role in this regard. It encourages the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union and the League of Arab States to enhance their efforts to promote peace in Somalia.

"The Security Council calls on all States and other actors to comply scrupulously with the arms embargo established by resolution 733 (1992) of 23 January 1992. The Council insists that all States, in particular those of the region, should not interfere in the internal affairs of Somalia. Such interference could jeopardize the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia.

"The Security Council insists that the territory of Somalia should not be used to undermine stability in the subregion.

"The Security Council strongly condemns the attack on 13 October 2001 on a police station in Mogadishu, in which a number of officers and civilians were killed. It reiterates its condemnation of the attack on 27 March 2001 on the compound of Médicins sans frontières in Mogadishu and the subsequent abduction of international personnel, and demands that those responsible must be brought to justice. The Council notes that these attacks were launched at the same time as the consideration of a possible United Nations peace-building mission for Somalia.

"The Council emphasizes that no measure of violence can alleviate the plight of the Somali people nor bring stability, peace or security to their country. It calls for an immediate end to all acts of violence in Somalia. Deliberate acts of violence should not be allowed to prevent the rehabilitation of Somalia’s governing structures and the restoration of the rule of law throughout the country. In this context, the Council condemns the leaders of those armed factions who remain outside the peace process and continue to be obstacles to peace and stability in Somalia.

"The Security Council expresses concern about the humanitarian situation in Somalia, in particular in southern areas, and in the Bay, Bakool, Gedo and Hiran regions due to the expected food insecurity and lack of rainfall in the October-December period. It draws attention to the urgent need for international assistance, inter alia, in covering food and water shortfalls, thereby also combating potentially further destabilizing stress migration and prevalence of disease. Noting that problems in livestock exports have also been a major influence in worsening the economic and humanitarian situation, the Council calls on all States and on all authorities within Somalia to cooperate in efforts to allow the resumption of such exports.

"The Security Council notes with satisfaction that the United Nations, the Red Cross movement and non-governmental organizations continue to provide humanitarian and development assistance to all areas of Somalia. The Council calls upon all parties in Somalia to respect fully the security and safety of personnel of the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and non-governmental organizations, and to guarantee their complete freedom of movement and access throughout Somalia. The Council calls on Member States to respond urgently and generously to the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for 2001, for which only 16 per cent of the identified needs have been financially provided thus far.

"The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to take the following steps in support of the peace process in Somalia:

(i) Dispatch a Headquarters-led inter-agency mission to carry out a comprehensive assessment, based on the existing general United Nations standards, of the security situation in Somalia, including in Mogadishu;

(ii) Prepare proposals for how the United Nations may further assist in the demobilization of militia members, and the training of police personnel from the Transitional National Government;

(iii) Invite donors to make contributions to the trust fund for peace-building in Somalia, to be put in place as proposed in the 19 December 2000 report of the Secretary-General (S/2000/1211), with a view to facilitate targeted activities in line with proposals developed pursuant to

paragraph (ii) above;

(iv) Consider the scope for adjustments, as appropriate, to the mandate for the United Nations Political Office for Somalia;

(v) Consult all concerned on finding practical and constructive ways of achieving the following objectives:

(a) promoting coherency of policy approaches towards Somalia and consolidating support for peace and reconciliation in the country;

(b) facilitating exchange of information; and

(c) finding ways and means of drawing attention to Somalia’s needs related to national reconciliation and development.

The effort to achieve the objectives stated in sub-paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) above should have a focus in the region and include close interaction with IGAD and its Partners Forum (IPF), the African Union, the League of Arab States and the Security Council;

(vi) Intensify, through urgent contacts with donor countries and relevant non-governmental organizations, the efforts for humanitarian and development assistance in Somalia; and

(vii) Submit reports, at least every four months, on the situation in Somalia and the efforts to promote the peace process, including updates on the scope and contingency planning for launching a peace-building mission for Somalia. The next report, due on 31 January 2002, should provide an update on the activities undertaken pursuant to paragraphs (i) to (vi) above.

"The Security Council remains seized of the matter."


When the Security Council met this morning, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Somalia (document S/2001/963). The report covers the period since the last report of 19 December 2000, and reviews political developments and the security situation. It also presents an overall picture of the humanitarian situation and the humanitarian assistance activities of United Nations agencies and their partners, as well as the Secretary-General's observations on establishing a United Nations post-conflict peace-building presence in Somalia.

The most viable option for lasting peace in Somalia is completion of the Arta, Djibouti, peace process, the Secretary-General says. A key role for the international community is to support the peace process, the establishment of the rule of law, and the emergence of impartial national political and judicial institutions. The security situation, however, still does not allow him to recommend the deployment of a post-conflict peace-building mission in Somalia. The seaport and airport remain closed and no single authority in the country can assure security and unimpeded access to the United Nations, even in Mogadishu. The Secretary-General will continue to monitor the situation and when it improves enough to allow for the establishment of such a mission, he will submit a detailed proposal to the Council.

Recalling that there has been no central administration of any description in Somalia for the past 10 years, he says that the Transitional National Government (TNG) inherited none of the formal institutions of a modern State. Both the TNG and the Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council, formed by opposition faction leaders, claim to be national, multi-clan alliances. Both have stated that they wish to pursue national reconciliation. Since neither seems to disagree on any major political issue, the differences ought not to be irreconcilable.

The Secretary-General stresses that local political settlements deserved more attention. Nevertheless, disputes that often appear to be purely local cannot be solved by local actors alone. Thus, the process of rebuilding national institutions should go forward, alongside strong and impartial efforts at local reconciliation. The Secretary-General calls on Somali leaders to put aside their narrow interests and work together to achieve the return of their country to peace, stability and overall normalcy. In that context, it would be important for the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to put in place the mechanism for negotiation agreed upon at the Khartoum Summit in November 2000.

Ongoing United Nations programmes to enhance local capacities should be strengthened as a parallel means of advancing reconciliation at the local and national levels, he states. On the other hand, the external actors, including the Organization of African Unity (OAU), IGAD, the United Nations and its Member States, will need to help sustain that effort. A mechanism for exchanging information and coordinating efforts among external actors is needed. The Secretary-General intends to consult all concerned on the usefulness of setting up a Committee of Friends of Somalia to draw attention to Somalia's needs, as well as mobilize funds for rehabilitation and development.

The Secretary-General continues to be concerned about the human rights situation in Somalia, the report states. Despite the efforts of United Nations and other humanitarian and development agencies, large sections of the Somali population continue to suffer from the internal conflict and its consequences, with little hope of improvement in their living conditions. Moreover, the unfavourable security conditions in the country continue to impede the United Nations and its humanitarian and development partners from providing assistance to those in need. The Secretary-General reiterates his call to potential donors to respond generously to the consolidated appeals process and contribute to ongoing and future development programmes.

In reviewing the internal political situation, the Secretary-General states that a group, including faction leaders who stayed away from the Arta Conference and others who participated but later denounced it, gathered in El-Berde (on the Somalia-Ethiopia border) in mid-January and later in Awasa. According to Ethiopian officials, the objective of the meetings was to agree on a common platform to facilitate discussions with the TNG. TNG leaders saw the meeting in Awasa as part of an Ethiopian plan to undermine the TNG. The faction leaders announced they had reached a number of agreements that would result in the reconstitution of Somalia. They later announced the formation of the Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council. Its aim would be to hold an all-inclusive national reconciliation conference to form a representative Transitional Government of National Unity. The meeting is now scheduled to take place late in 2002.

Regarding the humanitarian and development situation, the report says that in 2000 conditions across Somalia improved significantly due to positive environmental conditions and good harvests. However, the gains have been insufficient to break the seasonal cycle for poor and middle-income households. This vulnerability has been exacerbated by the partial failure of the rains in key food-producing regions of the south; the economic downturn due to the ban on livestock exports from the north; insecurity and violent conflict; and inflation due to injections of new Somali shilling notes.

These factors are not expected to produce large-scale, life-threatening conditions over the next six months. However, with persistent malnutrition rates of between 15 to 20 per cent in vulnerable areas and child mortality rates as high as 224 per 1,000, aid agencies will have to continue to provide significant levels of humanitarian aid to prevent rapid livelihood deterioration and loss of life.

An estimated 750,000 people are in need of international assistance to cover food shortfalls due to past harvest failure, the report continues. Environmental factors, while important, disguise the underlying reasons for vulnerability of at least one quarter of the Somali population to threats of violence, displacement, disease and lack of food and water. The key economic factors affecting livelihoods are man-made. They include asset depletion and destitution; lack of labour opportunities; limited benefits to the poor from economic expansion; lack of infrastructure and social services; lack of macroeconomic management; and market dependency and volatility. In response to these conditions, United Nations agencies work in tandem with over 60 international non-governmental organizations and the Red Cross movement, elaborating a multisectoral strategy to protect and rebuild livelihoods, preventing and responding to emergency situations, and supporting the transition towards peace and reconciliation.

The report goes on to say that United Nations agencies have adopted a four-part humanitarian and development strategy to increase access to essential social services and build an enabling environment for peace and reconciliation. The pillars of this strategy are to gain access to vulnerable populations; secure a safe operating environment; provide assistance and protection; and improve coordination, security and support services. Implicit in the United Nations approach is respect for Somali partnership and impartiality in the provision of assistance.

Citing examples of the tenuous security situation in Somalia, the report says that on 27 March militiamen loyal to one of the faction leaders in Mogadishu attacked the north Mogadishu compound of the international non-governmental organization Médecins sans frontières Spain (MSF-Spain). Six international United Nations staff members and three MSF-Spain colleagues were abducted. The compound, including valuable health-care equipment belonging to MSF-Spain, was looted. All international staff were eventually released unharmed, but several fatalities were recorded among Somali guards and the militia. In addition to the ongoing outbreaks of fighting between the various factions, piracy and forcible detention of sailors on trawlers fishing illegally in Somali territorial waters have continued.

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