The Security Council today called on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to continue contingency plans to deploy a possible United Nations peacekeeping operation in strife-torn Somalia and to relocate its political office from neighbouring Kenya.
In a resolution adopted unanimously, Council members deplored the deteriorating humanitarian situation inside Somalia – which has not had a functioning national government since 1991 – and called on Mr. Ban and the international community to therefore intensify their efforts to promote political reconciliation in the country.
The resolution asks Mr. Ban to continue plans for a UN peace force to succeed the current African Union operation (known as AMISOM), “taking account of all relevant conditions on the ground, and considering additional options for the size, configuration, responsibility and proposed area of operation, depending on different conditions on the ground.”
It also reiterates earlier calls on Member States to provide the funding, personnel, equipment and services for the full deployment of AMISOM as part of efforts to facilitate the withdrawal of other foreign forces from Somalia and to help create the conditions necessary for lasting peace and stability.
Somalia has been convulsed by deadly fighting in recent months, including in and around the capital, Mogadishu, which has seen an exodus of hundreds of thousands of civilian residents in the past year.
Ethiopian-backed Transitional Federal Institution (TFI) forces have clashed with Islamist insurgents, and humanitarian workers have also been in jeopardy from the continued fighting. The situation has been exacerbated by a drought across much of the Horn of Africa nation, as well as the soaring prices of basic foods such as rice.
Today’s resolution calls on Mr. Ban to strengthen existing efforts to better coordinate the operations of UN and other humanitarian agencies in Somalia to try to help resolve issues relating to access, security and the provision of relief.
It also presses States and regional organizations to take action to protect shipping involved in the transport and delivery of humanitarian aid. Piracy has been a persistent problem off the coast of Somalia.
The UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) is currently based in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, because of the security situation inside Somalia. The resolution welcomed Mr. Ban’s recommendation in a report earlier this year to relocate both the office and the UN country team headquarters either to Mogadishu or an interim location in the country.
UNPOS and the UN country team are tasked with assisting the TFI so that Somalia can develop a new constitution and put it to a referendum, as well as stage free and democratic elections next year.