Delivered by Mrs. Amiera Al Hefeiti, Deputy Permanent Representative
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I want to begin by thanking the Special Representative Mr. Swan for his comprehensive briefing. The UAE values his tireless efforts as well as the efforts of his team in supporting the government and the people of Somalia. I also want to Mrs. Lourtan and Mrs. Weber, for their valuable updates.
Additionally, I want to offer our sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the terrorist attack that targeted a civilian convoy in central region of Hiran in Somalia; my country deplores these criminal acts.
This is a critical period for Somalia following the success of the electoral process and the vote of confidence in the new government. It is therefore vital to strengthen the efforts aimed at securing Somalia’s security and stability. Additionally, the Somali government must be enabled to assume its responsibility, especially in light of the complex challenges it faces, and the need to meet the Somali people’s aspirations to build a sustainable country enjoying the riches of peace and prosperity.
The UAE believes that the time is ripe to meaningfully improve the situation in Somalia through working closely with the Somali leadership around its priorities. Today’s meeting is an opportunity to send a clear message of the Council’s consistent support for the Somali people’s journey for security and stability.
In the context of our discussion, I would like to focus on two aspects, namely the continued terrorist threat from Al-Shabaab, and the dire humanitarian and climate crises.
The people of Somalia, indeed all the people of the Horn of Africa, continue to face the brutality and terror of Al-Shabab’s relentless violence. This terrorist group’s attacks continue to inflict harm on civilians, destroy essential infrastructure and cripple national and regional economic prospects. Al Shabaab’s continued deployment of sophisticated technology, including to conduct its criminal activities, concealment of its funding sources and the ultimate expansion of their destructive reach, is a growing source of concern to us.
As such, this Council must remain united in our resolve to address the transnational threat posed by Al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups to international peace and security. This includes adopting the necessary regulatory framework to prevent terrorist groups’ access to technology and to counter their nefarious use. The UAE remains firmly committed to working with international and regional actors in supporting Somalia’s fight against terrorism.
This Council is all too well aware of the humanitarian plight of the people of Somalia. All United Nations agencies have painted a bleak picture of the humanitarian situation, warning of an ever-increasing threat of famine, with the country currently experiencing the worst drought in its history. According to Secretary-General report, the drought will affect some 50 percent of the population, at a time when more than six million people suffer from the lack of sufficient water. This is simply untenable. This deteriorating and concerning crisis requires urgent attention from the international community, including by doubling down on its humanitarian assistance to support the Government of Somalia and help relieve vulnerable communities across the country. Accordingly, we look forward to hearing more details from Mr. Martin Griffith’s recent visit to Somalia, and his recommendations on how to improve the humanitarian situation there. For its part, the UAE remains committed to extending humanitarian aid for the people of Somalia. Since the beginning of this year, the UAE has sent around 2,870 tons of aid to support millions of people affected by the drought.
Responding to this climate-related challenge will also require that the international community pays particular attention to the harmful ways in which terrorist groups like Al-Shabab exploit the drought crisis. Recent UN reports have documented that the group has become adept at using the drought and other emergency crises to its benefit whether by extorting local communities or by attempting to expand their influence, including through propaganda and deceptive mobilization. The UAE, therefore, stresses the need for stronger collaboration between the Government of Somalia and key international partners, in devising a community-oriented response plan. Importantly, humanitarian actors must be able to reach vulnerable populations and deliver aid relief unhindered.
In conclusion, the UAE commends ATMIS, UNSOM, and all partners for their vital support in Somalia’s journey towards security, stability, and prosperity.
Thank you, Mr. Preisdent.