News / Africa

UN Envoy Optimistic about Somalia

U.N. Special Representative Nicholas Kay briefing the Security Council on Somalia, Sept. 13, 2013.
U.N. Special Representative Nicholas Kay briefing the Security Council on Somalia, Sept. 13, 2013.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
The U.N. Special Representative for Somalia says the country is on the “brink of achieving great things” – but warns the situation remains precarious and success is not guaranteed. On Thursday, Nicholas Kay briefed the Security Council for the first time since he assumed the post three months ago.


The Special Representative to the Secretary-General began his briefing by answering the question that he says he hears the most: Is he optimistic about Somalia? The answer, he says, is a “resounding yes.”

“Behind the twists and turns, the crises and the standoffs, Somalia has the foundations for progress. The international community is united behind a credible, legitimate federal government. There are resources available to meet the most immediate needs. There is the political will to compromise and manage disputes without resorting to violence. And the Somali people I have met are tired of war and deprivation, fed up with brinkmanship and predatory politics.”


One of the “key tasks facing Somalia,” he said, is agreement of a final federal constitution.

“The U.N. is supporting a broad process of popular consultations, which should clarify several key areas that remain contentious. A long, hard process of consultation and negotiation lies ahead, which we shall support. On second of September, UNSOM backed the launch of a national political conference entitled Vision 2016, at which the President of Somalia restated his commitment to a new constitution and elections by 2016,” he said.

UNSOM is the U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia.

The Somali Federal Government has just celebrated its one-year anniversary. Kay says “another key building block” for the country’s stabilization is about to be put in place. The European Union and the Somali government will host some 200 delegates Monday regarding the New Deal Compact. Kay described it as a Somali-led and Somali-owned set of priorities.

Other than politics, much of his focus has been on security. He says UNSOM’s presence in Mogadishu is “to a large extent only possible because of AMISOM” – The African Union Mission in Somalia. It has played the major role in pushing back the Qaeda-linked militant group.

“The military and security dimension of defeating al Shabab in Somalia is by no means over. The Somali national army is ready to do its part and must be properly backed. I call on the Council to ensure more priority is given to strengthening the Somali national security forces and their ability to deploy and sustain joint operations with AMISOM,” said Kay.

While Somalia is no longer called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, it still faces many challenges. Lack of access to insecure areas has led to the spread of polio. Somalia now has at least 160 confirmed cases, half the world’s total.

Kay also said despite some improvements, the food security situation remains precarious.

“For the first time in five years, the number of people in crisis is below one-million, but the number of people on the margin of food insecurity has increased to 2.3-million people. This may be further exacerbated if the lifeline of Somali diaspora remittances is cut by international banks.”

He also addressed the issue of widespread attacks on women and girls in Somalia.

“Sexual violence in Somalia is one of the most serious and urgent human rights challenges facing the government and people. The commitment of both the Somali president and the leadership of AMISOM to a policy of zero-tolerance of sexual abuse is encouraging. However, it is clear that there need to be much more robust systems of investigation and prosecution, including the protection of survivors and witnesses.”

As for piracy, it’s on the decline off the Somali coast. But Kay said the “onshore networks that have profited from it have not been dismantled.”

“Law enforcement and correction systems on land, as well as job opportunities, must be supported so that we treat the root causes of the problem. At a conference hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, a maritime strategy covering security and sustainable resource management was strongly endorsed,” he said.

International naval patrols have prevented many pirate attacks on cargo ships and oil tankers.

There are still about one-million Somali refugees in neighboring countries. However, the U.N. special representative said it is not time for a full-scale repatriation.

He said for Somali to succeed more resources are needed for U.N. staff, national security forces and AMISOM, adding that “failure in Somalia still is a risk”…a risk the world “cannot afford.”

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Optimist from: everywhere
September 14, 2013 2:10 PM
I would be very happy to know about the findings of the UN Somalia and Eritrea commission, which I believe stated Many Western Nations were involved in exporting armaments, such as UK and US amongst the list. What did the UNSC did about that? The resolution is clear, NO weapons to Somalia.

By the way, Eritrea has been accused of several times and not a shred of evidence has been discovered, as a matter of fact all the accusations turned out to be the reverse, the Eritreans never supplied weapons to Somalis warring factions, but the State Department and UK foreign ministry have been doing that. I wish to know what the UNSC will do to make sure these countries do not violate the very rules they help implement.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs