Ban forwards possible next steps on Somalia to Security Council

22 December 2008

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a letter to the Security Council, has set out some proposals for the next steps on security and on considerations for a possible peacekeeping option for strife-torn Somalia, which has been beset by fighting and has not had a functioning central government since 1991.

“The Secretary-General’s letter notes the progress made in the Djibouti peace process, but it is of the view that conditions are not as yet ripe for a UN peacekeeping operation,” UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters in New York.

The ongoing fighting in Somalia, which has seen an upsurge this year, has led to massive humanitarian suffering and widespread displacement.

The violence continues despite the signing in June of a UN-facilitated peace accord, known as the Djibouti Agreement, by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), by which both sides agreed to end their conflict and called on the UN to deploy an international stabilization force to the troubled nation.

As stated in his November report to the Council and his statement during the 15-member body’s ministerial meeting on Somalia last week, Mr. Ban recommends strengthening – through financing, logistical support, necessary training, equipment and other reinforcements facilitated by the UN and Member States – the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as “the realistic option at this time.”

He noted that the most appropriate response to the complex security challenges is a Multinational Force (MNF), rather than a typical peacekeeping operation, with full military capabilities to support the cessation of armed confrontation.

However, no Member State had offered to play the lead nation role and the response had not been encouraging from the 50 countries and three international organizations he had approached for contributions.

“His efforts to mobilize a robust stabilization force have yet to materialize,” said Ms. Montas.

“In the absence of a stabilization force, the options forwarded to the Security Council provide a package of measures such as the strengthening of AMISOM, intensified training of Somali military and police personnel, and the establishment of a maritime force with a quick reaction capacity, aimed at allowing the peace process to grow roots,” she added.

 

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