15 September 2018

Somalia: Recurrent Political Stand Off Derails Progress in Somalia, Says UN Envoy

The outgoing United Nations (UN), Michael Keating said a protracted wrangle in Somalia is complicating progress on political and Security, warning that political differences will derail progress in Somalia.

Briefing the Security Council on Somalia, Mr. Keating said the deficit of trust between central government and federal member states, and the recent decision by the latter to suspend cooperation, are very worrisome.

"My tour of duty comes to an end next week. On the day that I arrived in Mogadishu in January 2016, I was taken straight to the President's office to discuss a threat by federal member states' to suspend cooperation with the central government," he said, "When I left Mogadishu two days ago, the country faced a similar situation."

He noted that strong and differing views about federalism are legitimate, underlining that if the political culture is to change, 'they need to be resolved through dialogue and not through unilateral action.'

"Federal states should use the upcoming National Security Council convened by the President as an opportunity for constructive engagement," he said,

"Failure to restore trust and cooperation sends a negative signal both to Somalis and to those international partners trying to make a case to sceptical capitals that Somalia is ready for more financial and security support."

More immediately, the greatest challenge is to reach political agreements that allow forward momentum without prejudicing the outcome of the constitutional review, he said. These include the electoral law, integration of security forces, and resource and revenue sharing agreements.

Trust requires respect for due process and commitment to non-violence, a willingness to engage, to make compromises for the broader good, he said.

"This was my parting message to Somali leaders," said Keating.

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