SECURITY COUNCIL URGES SOMALI LEADERS TO REACH
AGREEMENT ON VIABLE GOVERNMENT THROUGH PLANNED
NOVEMBER MEETING IN KENYA
NEW YORK, 11 November (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council this morning urged all Somali leaders to reach agreement on a viable government and a durable solution to the conflict in that country, through a “Leaders Meeting” planned for Kenya in November 2003.
Through the statement read out by its President, Ismael Abraao Gaspar Martins (Angola), the Council called on the international community to support the Somali Reconciliation Process, the Trust Fund for Peace-building in Somalia, and the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Somalia.
Expressing serious concern regarding the humanitarian situation in the country, the Council also called on the Somali leaders to facilitate the delivery of much-needed humanitarian assistance and to assure the safety of aid workers. It further called on all relevant States and organizations to cooperate with measures to strengthen the arms embargo on Somalia.
The Council commended the Government of Kenya and the African Union for their roles in supporting the Reconciliation Process, which was launched under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
The meeting began at 10:50 a.m. and adjourned at 11 a.m.
The full text of the statement, to be issued as S/PRST/2003/19, reads as follows:
“The Security Council, recalling its previous decisions concerning the situation in Somalia, in particular the statement of its President of 12 March 2003 (S/PRST/2003/2) and welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 13 October 2003 (S/2003/987), reaffirms its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia, and its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of the country, consistent with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
“The Security Council reiterates its firm support for the Somali National Reconciliation Process launched under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and led by Kenya. The Council commends the progress made and acknowledges the challenges ahead.
“The Security Council welcomes the relevant decisions made by the 10th summit of IGAD and the 1st Ministerial Meeting of the IGAD Facilitation Committee on the Somali Peace Process in October 2003.
The Security Council urges all Somali leaders to participate constructively in the Leaders Meeting planned by the IGAD Facilitation Committee in Kenya in November 2003 to bridge their differences and to reach agreements on a viable government and a durable and inclusive solution to the conflict in Somalia.
“The Security Council commends the Government of Kenya for its crucial role in facilitating the Somali National Reconciliation Process, and President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda for joining in the facilitation work, and encourages the Facilitation Committee to work concertedly towards a successful conclusion of the Process.
“The Security Council also commends the support given by the African Union to the Somali National Reconciliation Process, including its participation in the Process and its commitment to deploy a military observer mission to Somalia once a comprehensive agreement is reached.
“The Security Council calls on the international community to continue its efforts to support IGAD in its facilitation of the Somali National reconciliation Process, and calls on the donor countries to contribute to the Process, the Trust Fund for Peace-building in Somalia and the United Nations Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal for Somalia.
“The Security Council expresses serious concern regarding the humanitarian situation in Somalia, and calls on the Somalia leaders to facilitate the delivery of much-needed humanitarian assistance and to assure the safety of all international and national aid workers.
“The Security Council welcomes the forthcoming mission of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 751 (1992) to Somalia and States in the region from 11 to 21 November 2003 as a step towards giving full effect to the arms embargo. The Council calls on relevant States and organizations to cooperate with the above mission.
“The Security Council reiterates that a comprehensive peace-building programme with special emphasis on disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration will be important to post-conflict Somalia.
“The Security Council expresses its readiness to assist the Somali parties and support IGAD in implementation of the agreements reached in the Somalia National Reconciliation Process.”
The conflict in Somalia dates back to 1989, when growing discontent with President Siad Barre’s regime resulted in a general civil war. The regime collapsed in 1991, and the country descended into an even more intense periods of inter-clan warfare, which destroyed most of the country’s remaining infrastructure and exacerbated a widespread famine that claimed the lives of more than 250,000 Somalis, prompting from 1 to 2 million people to flee to other parts of the country or across the border. Due to extensive foreign military assistance over several decades prior to the civil unrest, the country had significant stockpiles of weapons and ammunition, and weapons were also purchased on international markets.
The crisis in Somalia impelled the Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the country and eventually authorize a United Nations peace enforcement operation from 1993 to 1995. United Nations peacekeeping forces were then drawn into a difficult and protracted conflict with the Somali National Alliance (SNA), which sapped the will of the international community for the enforcement operation. When the last United Nations forces withdrew in March 1995, Somalia remained divided, without a central government, and with little chance of political and economic reconstruction.
In 2002, the IGAD, a regional organization of States in the Horn of Africa aiming to achieve regional cooperation and economic integration, proposed to hold a peace and reconciliation conference. That conference signed a Declaration on Cessation of Hostilities and the Structures and Principles of the Somalia Reconciliation Process, in Eldoret, Kenya, on 27 October that year. Since then, a Somalia National Reconciliation Conference has been meeting in Mbagathi, Kenya, under auspices of the IGAD.
A report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Somalia (document S/2003/987) welcomed progress made during the Conference, which had, among other things, endorsed reports prepared by five of the six reconciliation committees (disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; land and property rights’; economic recovery; institution-building and resource mobilization; regional and international relations; and conflict resolution and reconciliation). It noted, however, that further advances had been slow, owing to differences on the issue of federalism and on the relationship of the future transitional government with existing regional and local authorities, in particular “Somaliland”. The situation has been complicated by the expiration on 26 August of the mandate of the Transitional National Government.
Conflict and violence within Somalia, including brutality against civilians, continue to be a hindrance to humanitarian activities. The Secretary-General urges all Somali leaders to continue their dialogue to ensure an inclusive solution they can all support and to do their utmost to restrain their militias and supporters.
The Secretary-General states that the international community is becoming increasingly impatient with the continued conflict and violence in Somalia. United Nations activities have been curtailed due to the insecurity prevailing in many parts of the country. Organizations and individuals devoted to humanitarian and development work in Somalia are calling upon the international community to hold the Somali leaders accountable for the welfare of their people and for the legitimacy of the leaders to be judged accordingly. In that context, he welcomes the decision of the Security Council Committee established by resolution 751 (1992) concerned with sanctions, to visit the region to strengthen the arms embargo.
According to the report, the United Nations Political Office for Somalia and the United Nations country team are actively developing a peace-building plan to be implemented in Somalia once a definitive agreement is reached at the Conference. The Secretary-General hopes that such an agreement, together with the amelioration of the security situation, will soon create conditions conducive to fully utilizing the contributions made to the United Nations Trust Fund for Peace-building in Somalia. He calls upon donors to contribute generously and without delay to the consolidated inter-agency appeal for Somalia. It is his intention to continue the activities of the Office for Somalia for the biennium 2004-2005 at the current resource level.
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