Members of the United Nations Security Council arrived in Mogadishu this morning on a landmark visit to Somalia to review progress made by the Federal Government and to demonstrate their continued support for the country's efforts to ensure a sustainable peace.
Speaking at Mogadishu International Airport, Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant of the United Kingdom, which holds a rotating presidency of the Council for August said, "We are pleased to have this opportunity to visit Somalia. Our visit underlines the commitment of the international community to Somalia's progress toward peace and stability."
The visit, led by Ambassador Grant and Ambassador Usman Sarki of Nigeria, comes at an important time for Somalia as the country prepares to launch the next phase of military operations against Al-Shabaab, addresses a worsening humanitarian situation and pushes forward with political reforms to agree a federal system of governance.
"Members of the Council expressed their expectation that the Federal Government of Somalia will urgently establish a national independent electoral commission, lead a process to revise the constitution and hold a referendum on it by the end of 2015, and hold elections in 2016," said Ambassador Grant.
"The members of the Security Council stand ready to support the people and government of Somalia to deliver this vision. The members of the Security Council also underlined the importance of women being represented at all levels of the political process in Somalia," he added.
During the visit, the Council members met with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, senior members of the Government and the Federal Parliament, and the leaders of the Interim Jubba Administration and Galmudug, Ahmed Islaan Madobe and Abdi Hassan Awale Qeybdid.
In that regard, the Council welcomed recent political agreements to form interim regional administrations, including the establishment of the Interim Jubba Administration and agreements on the Interim South West State Administration and on the Central Regions.
In addition, Council members met with senior leadership of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as well as members of Somalia's civil society.
The UN Security Council delegation includes representatives from Argentina, Australia, Chad, Chile, China, France, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Rwanda, UK and USA.
Last week, a UN independent expert appealed to the international community to avert a humanitarian disaster and devastating famine in Somalia. Mr. Bahame Tom Nyanduga, an expert on human rights in Somalia, warned that food shortage situation there was deteriorating rapidly.
As it stands now, some 203,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished while about 2.9 million people need urgent life-saving support a situation.
Mr. Nyanduga explained that the ongoing conflict, lower than usual rains, hikes in food prices, and limited access to deliver assistance, were pushing Somalia closer to a worrisome malnutrition situation.