Remarks by Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, U.S. Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs to the United Nations, at the Security Council Briefing on Somalia

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
United States Ambassador and Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs 
New York, NY
January 11, 2012


Thank you, Madame President. We welcome you to the Council today as well as the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, and we thank you both for your statements.

I would like to thank African Union Peace and Security Commissioner Lamamra and Under-Secretary-General Pascoe for their briefings. I also would like to thank the distinguished ministers of Kenya and Uganda for their presentations, as well as for the deep commitment and valuable support their countries have shown to Somalia. Working closely with representatives of troop-contributing countries, the joint UN-AU assessment mission has done excellent work in providing the basis for the briefings we've heard today.

Madame President, Somalia continues to face Africa’s most complex challenges. Although famine conditions have eased in some parts of the country, 3.7 million Somalis are still in need of humanitarian assistance. Nearly one million Somalis live in exile, and 1.5 million are displaced and experiencing famine conditions. All parties must ensure immediate and unfettered access to those in need of emergency humanitarian assistance. We would like to thank member states for their generous support of the UN’s 2011 Somalia Consolidated Appeal, which was funded at 82 percent. Still, there are many gaps. For example, the protection cluster was only funded at 17 percent, thwarting efforts to better protect vulnerable women and girls. The recently launched 2012 Consolidated Appeal requests $1.5 billion. The United States urges member states to support this appeal. Total U.S. humanitarian assistance to the region since October 1, 2010 is $870 million, $205 million of which has been used for Somalia. Meanwhile, Al-Shabaab continues its despicable acts, including suicide bombings, attacks on civilians and humanitarian workers, and the expulsion of humanitarian organizations at the height of the world’s gravest humanitarian catastrophe.

At the same time, we have a moment of opportunity to turn the tide of violence, poverty, and despair in Somalia. The remarkable courage of AMISOM and its Ugandan and Burundian troops has helped liberate Mogadishu from Al-Shabaab’s occupation. We welcome Djibouti's deployment and urge the African Union and Djibouti promptly to resolve any remaining questions about how best to integrate Djboutian troops into the mission. Kenya and Ethiopia have thrown their weight behind the effort to defeat Al-Shabaab, and we welcome their contributions as well. And the Kampala Accord, the Roadmap, and the Garowe conference outcome all create momentum for critical political reforms that must complement early security gains.

As difficult as it is for all of us in a time of severe resource austerity, it is imperative that the international community seize the moment in Somalia: we must come together and rise to meet these new challenges. It would be foolish to turn our backs on our collective successes thus far. That is our responsibility.

We have listened carefully to the African Union’s calls to increase AMISOM’s troop ceiling beyond the current mandated strength and to the various proposals to expand the use of UN-assessed funding to support AMISOM. We await further details from the AU, particularly concerning the command-and-control architecture, as well as the Secretariat’s report, including its cost analysis for the AU’s recommendations, and UNSOA’s assessment of support needs for the AU’s operations outside of Mogadishu. We will give these proposals thorough consideration and call for a follow-on discussion as soon as practical.

The United States intends to continue its strong bilateral support to AMISOM troop contributing countries (TCCs). We have obligated over $337 million worth of training, equipment, and logistics support to AMISOM and its TCCs to date, in addition to our UNSOA assessments. We have further committed over $106 million worth of training, equipment, and other support to develop the capacity of the Somali security forces. We urge other member states to provide in-kind support or contributions to the UN Trust Fund for AMISOM without caveats to fund urgently needed projects, including reimbursements for contingent owned equipment. As AMISOM expands its footprint, it is imperative that it have predictable and uncaveated funding to sustain its operations.

While AMISOM plays a critical role, a coherent and achievable political strategy must be in place. The Kampala Accord and Roadmap to End the Transition are key to achieving long lasting peace and stability in Somalia. We call upon all Transitional Federal Institutions, including Parliament, as well as other signatories, to meet their obligations and responsibilities for Roadmap implementation.

Let me be absolutely clear on this point: we will hold the Roadmap signatories to account. They are responsible for achieving the tasks outlined in the Roadmap, including an agreed upon constitution, parliamentary reform, and credible and transparent elections. Any further support by the United States will be contingent upon successful completion of the key tasks in the Roadmap. We will stand by Somalia’s side, but are prepared to walk away if the TFG and TFIs cannot show concrete, measurable progress in 2012.

There is some reason for optimism. While the Roadmap process is far from complete, the December Garowe Conference, attended by the signatories of the Roadmap, represents a significant and positive step forward on completion of the key task of constitutional and parliamentary reformand indirect election of a President and Speaker of Parliament by August of this year. The Garowe Principles agreed to by the senior political leadership now need further discussion and consideration by a broader cross-section of the Somali people, including civil society, which we urge begin with the second phase of the Garowe Conference to be held later this month.

We welcome UK Prime Minister David Cameron's initiative to host the February 23 high-level conference in London to maintain momentum for the political and security successes and build international consensus and support for the path forward in Somalia.

Finally, Madame President, let me reiterate our strong support of the United Nations’ efforts in Somalia. The historic visit last month by the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly is evidence of his commitment to restoring peace and stability in Somalia. The United States commends and fully supports the decision to move the UNPOS headquarters to Mogadishu this month. We thank Special Representative Mahiga for his efforts and urge him to remain focused on compliance with the benchmarks and timelines set by the Roadmap signatories in accordance with the Kampala Accord.

Thank you.


PRN: 2012/002