News / Africa

    UN Envoy: Somalia Momentum Toward Peace 'Unstoppable'

    FILE - U.N. Special Representative Nicholas Kay briefing the Security Council on Somalia, Sept. 13, 2013. In his final interview before leaving office, he says Somalia  has an “unstoppable momentum” toward being a stable and secure country.
    FILE - U.N. Special Representative Nicholas Kay briefing the Security Council on Somalia, Sept. 13, 2013. In his final interview before leaving office, he says Somalia has an “unstoppable momentum” toward being a stable and secure country.

    The outgoing United Nations envoy to Somalia, Nicholas Kay, says the country has an “unstoppable momentum” toward being a stable and secure country.

    In his final interview before leaving office, Kay told VOA that Somalia has managed to convert a dream of being a federal Somalia into reality. The country now has five interim regional administrations and federal member states, which he says brings government and accountability closer to the people.

    “I arrived full of hope, and I’m leaving not just with hope but with a very firm conviction that Somalia is now a fragile but recovering country and no longer a failed state,” he said.

    'Reasonable progress'

    Kay says the country has also made "reasonable progress” in fighting al-Shabab militants, recovering up to 14 towns and districts during his two and a half years in office. The government and the African Union force AMISOM took control of the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011.

    Kay said the militant group is territorially in a “much weaker position” and is suffering from infighting between factions that support the so-called Islamic State and those still loyal to al-Qaida.

    However, he said it would be a concern if IS were to gain a foothold in Somalia.

    “Clearly, it would be a concern if they were to consolidate an ISIL/Daesh presence in Somalia and it resulted in extra resources or manpower for the organization. That would be a concern,” he said.

    Existential threat

    Kay said al-Shabab still poses a terrorist threat and does “terrible things” in terms of suicide bombings and targeted assassinations. But he insists it’s an organization that no longer poses an “existential or strategic threat” to Somalia.

    FILE - Sheik Muktar Robow Abu Mansur (2nd R), spokesman of Somalia's Islamic al-Shabab, leaves a news conference after vowing to step up attacks against government soldiers and foreign troops in Mogadishu, Dec. 14, 2008.
    FILE - Sheik Muktar Robow Abu Mansur (2nd R), spokesman of Somalia's Islamic al-Shabab, leaves a news conference after vowing to step up attacks against government soldiers and foreign troops in Mogadishu, Dec. 14, 2008.

    He warns there needs to be a concerted effort in developing Somali national security forces – police and army. The government and its allies have been trying to do so for years with very little success.

    Kay says the number of African Union troops in the country will go down when Somali troops become capable.

    “The time scale for that is clearly impossible to fix rigidly but it will be reviewed again at the end of 2016; I think there is an expectation that AMISOM numbers will start to fall after then,” he said.

    FILE - Soldiers serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) patrol outside a Mosque during Eid al-Fitr prayers, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at a Mosque in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, July 17, 2015.
    FILE - Soldiers serving in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) patrol outside a Mosque during Eid al-Fitr prayers, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan at a Mosque in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, July 17, 2015.

    Kay praised the U.N. role in Somalia and for expanding the operations of the international body outside Mogadishu but he also lamented the loss of eight U.N. staffers who died in Somalia while he was in office.

    “My greatest disappointment is the death of U.N. colleagues at the hands of terrorists in Somalia. I pay tribute to those eight colleagues who have been killed in the period which I have been in office.”

    He also said was delighted to have worked in a country where he says every single Somali that he met is “deeply political."

    Kay praised the resilience of Somalis who in the face of deadly Al-Shabab attacks managed to bounce back quickly.

    FILE - Somali soldiers stand near the wreckage after a car bomb detonated in Mogadishu, Somalia, Dec. 19, 2015.
    FILE - Somali soldiers stand near the wreckage after a car bomb detonated in Mogadishu, Somalia, Dec. 19, 2015.

    “Watching hotels get bombed in Mogadishu and then seeing the very next day the work starting on rebuilding them, and then the next week or month reopening for business is very, very inspirational.”

    Fellow British diplomat Michael Keating replaces Kay and will start work in January.

     

     

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
    December 31, 2015 1:41 AM
    Nicholas Kay came to a country in ruins, dealing with violence, Muslim terrorism and corruptions. Under his watch, nepotism, crookedness and craft have unprecedentedly flourished. Overnight local politicians became billionaires, lots of stolen money were stashed in offshore bank accounts with impunity. The country now more in chaos than four years ago. Somalia remains ungovernable state.
    In Response

    by: antonia willis from: United Kingdom
    January 16, 2016 6:47 PM
    Absolutely correct. How anyone can believe Nicholas Kaye - including himself - is beyond anyone who has actually spent time in the Horn.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora