Delivered by Ambassador and Permanent Representative Lana Nusseibeh
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I thank both the Special Representative, Mr. James Swan, and the Special Representative, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, for their comprehensive briefings. We also welcome the participation of Somalia in today’s meeting.
I would like to join my colleagues in congratulating His Excellency Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on being elected President of Somalia and wish him success during his tenure. The UAE welcomes the successful conclusion of the electoral process in Somalia, which serves as a definitive step towards peace and stability of Somalia. At this critical and historic juncture, it is necessary to increase focus on addressing the urgent challenges Somalia faces, especially terrorism and the impact of drought. For its part, the UAE will continue to stand with the people of Somalia as they work to build a peaceful and prosperous country that reflects and fulfills their collective aspirations.
In light of the current developments, I would like to focus on the following three issues:
First, we echo the call of the Secretary-General for continued security assistance to Somalia, so that it can strengthen its capabilities to confront the serious threats posed by the Al Shabaab terrorist group. Over the last few weeks alone, Al Shabaab has continued to launch complex deadly attacks inflicting harm on Somali people, attempting to weaken the Somali security forces, and ultimately derail state-led efforts and state-building priorities.
We reiterate our support for the African Union Transtional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), which remains a crucial partner in confronting Al Shabaab and affiliates linked to Daesh in Somalia. It is important to ensure that the transfer of security responsibilities from ATMIS to the Somali security forces be carried out carefully and effectively to prevent the creation of a security vacuum that could enable Al-Shabaab to expand its influence and scope.
It is also important to note that Al-Shabaab not only poses a threat to Somalia and its people, but it also undermines peace and stability elsewhere in the region. For instance, Al-Shabaab has launched cross-border attacks against neighboring countries, including attacks in Kenya. The UAE condemns these terrorist acts and affirms its solidarity with the people of Kenya. My country also supports all efforts, including international partnerships, that seek to put an end to the growing transnational threats posed by Al-Shabaab in Africa.
We remain concerned by reported smuggling of weapons including between Somalia and Yemen, which risk falling in the hands of terrorist groups such as Al Shabab and the Houthis, and threaten the stability of the region, international trade, and the safety of navigation. Within this context, we stress that the role of the Combined Maritime Forces, remains critical to combatting the smuggling of weapons off the coast of Somalia, in cooperation with the Government of Somalia and in accordance with resolution 2607.
Second, the dire humanitarian situation in Somalia is also of concern, particularly since it is being further exacerbated by worsening drought and subsequent acute food insecurity – both of which disproportionately affect women and children. According to OCHA, nearly 800,000 people have been displaced by the drought since early 2021, and UNHCR recently reported that 4.8 million people are experiencing acute food insecurity. The UAE calls on the international community to swifly respond to this crisis, increase its humanitarian aid to Somalia and ensure its safe and unhindered delivery. In this context, last week the UAE, in cooperation with UAE-based humanitarian agencies, announced a new financial assistance package to Somalia amounting to approximately 11 million US dollars.
Third, we would also like to highlight the urgent need for ATMIS, the UN Country Team, and others to build on the pioneering climate and peacebuilding work in Somalia. Coordinated investment in food, water, and basic services in fragile communities is one of the best investments that the UN and partners can make for stability and recovery. We particularly note the breakthrough model that UNSOM offers for bringing private capital to build renewable energy infrastructure that powers both peacekeepers and host communities, creating a positive legacy that outlasts the international presence.
Finally, we would like to once again reiterate the UAE’s commitment to promote peace, prosperity, and stability in Somalia. We also commend the tireless efforts of ATMIS and the troop contributing countries who support the Mission and continue to pay the ultimate price for achieving peace in Somalia. Furthermore, we also support the mandates of UNSOS and UNSOM.
I thank you, Madam President.