Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Special Representative Mahiga, for your briefing.
Somalia has made significant progress in recent months. Among Somalis and the international community alike, pervasive despair has turned to cautious optimism as Somalia enters an historic new phase of national development. First and foremost, I congratulate the Somali people and applaud their hard work and profound sacrifice. Still, success has been born of partnership. The African Union, the United Nations, and the international community have joined with the Somali people to achieve the significant gains we see of late, and we must renew our shared commitment to ensure that progress continues. The end of Somalia's transitional period marks a new era in governance. We are encouraged by the results of the Roadmap process, including a provisional constitution, the election of a new President, and the appointment of a Prime Minister-designate. These promising developments have come through Somali-led efforts and are nothing short of remarkable.
Addressing the Secretary-General’s Mini-Summit on Somalia last month, President Hassan Sheikh Mahamud outlined his vision for inclusive, broad-based governing institutions in Somalia. We welcome this vision and the initial but important steps President Hassan Sheikh has taken to bring it about, including the appointment of Prime Minister-designate Saacid. We hope the Prime Minister-designate will work closely and collaboratively with President Hassan Sheikh and the Parliament to improve governance and security in Somalia through inclusive, transparent, and representative processes and institutions. Somalia’s long-term stability and development demand it. As the United States and other international partners help build the capacity of Somali institutions, the new Somali leadership must take urgent steps to tackle corruption. The Mini-Summit laid a foundation for coordinating the efforts of the international community, and I hope that both here in New York and in Mogadishu we will be able to continue that collaboration.
The security situation has improved dramatically in the last year, but Somalia would not be where it is today without the contributions of the Somali security forces, the African Union Mission in Somalia, and their strategic allies in the region. Their efforts have made Somalia’s transition possible, and it has not been without costs. I would like to recognize the sacrifices of Somalia’s National Security Forces and AMISOM forces, including those killed and wounded in the line of duty while protecting President Hassan Sheikh in the first days of his presidency.
The United States has been a leading donor for efforts to improve security in Somalia. We have contributed over $131 million to build the capacity of the Somali security sector. We have also provided over $429 million in addition to our share of assessed expenses for UNSOA, which amount to $225 million to date toward training, equipment, and logistics support to AMISOM troop contributing countries. We welcome all new partners in this endeavor.
Despite the military successes and security improvements, al-Shabaab remains a threat to Somali security, as demonstrated by the terrorist attacks in Mogadishu on September 21st and 22nd. We need to maintain focus on improving the security situation in Somalia and continue to reinforce AMISOM and Somalia’s capacity to root out al-Shabaab. We encourage all Member States to contribute to building the capacity of Somalia to provide for its own security. We especially urge new donors to assist the Somali National Security Forces with equipment, salaries, infrastructure, logistical support, and support for regional training efforts.
The U.S. also welcomes the UN’s strategic review of its engagement in Somalia as well as the African Union’s strategic review of AMISOM operations. Now is the right time to take stock and consider how the UN and AMISOM can adapt to support Somalia in its post-transition phase. It’s more important than ever that Somalis themselves participate in this process so that it supports their vision for the future Somalia.
While efforts by Somali forces and AMISOM to degrade al-Shabaab remain essential, creating the conditions for effective and legitimate governance is the foundation of sustainable security for the Somali people. National and local Somali leaders must provide timely and visible benefits to Somalis in recently liberated areas. Establishing police forces and courts, increasing access to food and water, healthcare, and education, and providing economic opportunity are what will earn the respect of the Somali people for their leaders and their government. This is also what will lead to stability. We recognize that former combatants defecting from al-Shabaab will need to be reintegrated into local communities. We urge further progress under the National Stabilization Plan to cement military gains and to lay a foundation for long-term reconstruction and economic development.
Meanwhile, we cannot forget the humanitarian crisis that continues to afflict Somalia and neighboring countries. Inside Somalia, over two million Somalis are facing an acute food security crisis and 1.3 million remain internally displaced. In 2012 alone, there have been over 60,000 new refugee arrivals, bringing the total number of Somali refugees in the Horn of Africa to over one million. The United States has contributed over $1.2 billion in humanitarian assistance to the region since 2011. We must sustain our humanitarian response, and we urge all Member States to strongly support the $1.16 billion UN Consolidated Appeal for Somalia and to coordinate closely with the United Nations to ensure a coherent, effective, and efficient response.
Mr. President, while Somalia’s journey has been difficult and there were many disappointments along the way, the completion of the Transition was a real success, inspiring hope among Somalis for the first time in many years. We encourage the Somali people and leaders, with the support of the international community, to build on this momentum, as there is much more to do. Many challenges lie on the road ahead. Let me reiterate our strong support for AMISOM and the United Nations’ efforts in Somalia and express our continuing commitment to supporting the people of Somalia to ensure that the next phase of their national development is indeed a success.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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