Delivered By: His Excellency Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al Nahyan, Minister of State
I want to begin by welcoming His Excellency Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to today’s meeting of the Security Council.
I also wish to thank our briefers today, SRSG Laing, Executive Director McCain, and Ambassador El-Amine.
Your briefings gave well-informed, high-level insights on the complex challenges that Somalia faces.
The address from his Excellency President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud reminded us that Somalis themselves have the resolve and the vision to own the solutions to those challenges and pave the way towards a society that reflects their aspirations.
The UAE offers its full support to Somalia in the spirit of partnership and our longstanding support to the country and its people.
To this effect, today I want to make three points:
First, it’s important to support Somalia’s national vision.
In recent months, the Federal Government of Somalia has shown commitment to building state institutions that articulate a forward-looking strategy, beginning with a focus on reconciliation and on revamping their electoral system.
We are encouraged by the fact that the government has taken steps, through negotiation and dialogue, towards reaching the needed agreements and compromises on all these processes.
We commend in particular the focus on improving cooperation and exchanges between the FGS and the federal member states through the National Consultative Council. Inclusive discussions geared towards reaching a political agreement on power sharing and other outstanding issues of federalism are welcome, especially within the context of the constitutional review process.
By adhering to principles of mutual respect, dialogue, and compromise, and by putting in place mechanisms for reconciliation, it is possible to build a Somalia that reflects the aspirations of all of its people.
Despite these advances, the ongoing violence in Las Anod and the resulting civilian casualties are of great concern. The UAE strongly supports all efforts to de-escalate the tensions through dialogue and we commend the efforts by the FGS in this regard.
Second, greater emphasis should be put on supporting efforts to counter Al-Shabaab.
Today, we can all agree that Somalia’s most significant challenge to achieving its political and socio-economic ambitions is international terrorism on its soil.
The UAE is deeply concerned about the increase in attacks by Al-Shabaab against civilians and security actors, including those targeting ATMIS personnel and facilities.
In the first quarter of 2023, the number of terrorism-related incidents surpassed all previous quarterly averages on record since 2016.
Countering Al-Shabaab is already an international effort. And in recent months, the government of Somalia has undertaken steps that strengthen its security institutions and send a clear signal that dismantling Al-Shabaab is a priority.
These also include the progress made in the implementation of the arms embargo concerning Al-Shabaab, strengthening its weapons management system and holding regular exchanges in the context of the Weapons and Ammunition Mechanism working group.
Much more still needs to be done.
The best chance of success will arise from striking a balance between advancing offensive operations while consolidating the hold on areas that have been liberated from Al-Shabaab.
In addition, there is a need to secure support from local communities while making further advances, in order to prevent Al-Shabaab from exploiting security vacuums.
It is the responsibility of the Security Council to be vigilant to Somalia’s needs at this critical juncture. This means ensuring that the tools this Council uses are fit for purpose and that measures adopted to constrain nefarious actors in the interest of a State seek to help – and not hinder – the security needs of its people.
As discussions around the draw-down of ATMIS progress, consideration and coordination between all partners must remain front and centre, to ensure synchronicity between the UN, Somalia’s regional partners, and frontline state neighbors during the transition.
Third, the international community must support the scale up of humanitarian and climate change responses in Somalia.
Moments ago, we heard in detail about the deeply distressing situation facing millions of Somalis each day.
The situation is leading to regional spillover and instability as the drought has driven hundreds of thousands of Somalis to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.
As always, women and children are hardest hit, and make up more than 80 per cent of the displaced population.
Scaled up and coordinated assistance should be put in place to tackle the twin humanitarian and climate crises.
The UAE is working with the Somali government and its partners to help alleviate the humanitarian needs on the ground: During the period of 2018-2023, assistance from the UAE to Somalia amounted to 194.6 million dollars.
The UAE remains a trusted partner of Somalia and shares a strong message of support. We will remain standing by the Somali people in their pursuit of sustainable peace, and prosperity.
I thank you.