Progress against Al-Shabaab will be lasting only with a robust political process - 9 November 2015 [fr]
Ministerial meeting on Somalia - Statement by Mr Alexis Lamek, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, chargé d’Affaires a.i. - Security Council - 9 November 2015
I too wish to begin by thanking you, Sir, for presiding over this meeting. Indeed, it signals the United Kingdom’s commitment to an issue that is so important to us all.
I thank the Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia, the Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary-General, the Permanent Observer of the African Union and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia, for their interventions. I wish to pay tribute, through the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, to those United Nations personnel who have paid with their lives in their commitment to assisting the Somali people.
We have just adopted resolution 2245 (2015), on redefining the logistical assistance mandate entrusted to the entity that will henceforth be known as the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS). I thank the British delegation for drafting the resolution, which implements the conclusions of the strategic review conducted by the Secretary-General. The mandate of the entity is clarified and the procedures are simplified, with a focus on increased operational effectiveness in the field. Those changes were necessary.
France salutes the courage and dedication of the troops of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali security forces in leading the fight against Al-Shabaab. I pay tribute to all soldiers of the African Union who have made the supreme sacrifice in the fight against Al-Shabaab. The efforts of the international community, especially the African Union, with the support of the European Union and the United States, are paying off, but they can be reversed. Much more progress is necessary.
Al-Shabaab is demonstrating significant resilience, and while international and Somali forces theoretically control 80 per cent of the territory, the terrorist organization remains capable of operating over a large part of the same. Our common objective is to continue the fight against that terrorist group, which persists in carrying out murderous attacks against Somali institutions and AMISOM, as well as in Kenya. Al-Shabaab remains undefeated, as was again demonstrated by the 1 November attack, which caused many casualties. France extends it condolences to the Prime Minister and, through him, to the people of Somalia over this new, heinous attack.
Given the situation, it is essential that AMISOM quickly resume the offensive in order to exert maximum pressure. The need for a surge in effectiveness would correspond to a qualitative improvement in the functioning of AMISOM and its troops, as affirmed by resolution 2124 (2013) and recalled in resolution 2232 (2015) of last July. That should result in concrete and operational improvements. AMISOM troops must be fully integrated under a single, clear chain of command, with joint planning and execution, and full sharing of information; necessary force multipliers must be made available. AMISOM would greatly benefit from such implementation without further delay. We call on the African Union and the troop-contributing countries to follow up.
Qualitative improvements in logistical support, through the adoption of a new mandate for UNSOS, will remain dead letter without the active involvement of the Somali Government in building a credible Somali National Army that is responsive and financially sustainable. That is one of the main challenges of the current period. The international community stands ready to tackle this issue, in support of the Somali authorities; however, international support in the area of security-sector reform must be contingent on an increased demonstration of the will of the Somali Government in this respect. The issue of the payment of salaries and bonuses must also be resolved as a priority matter, failing which the security situation could deteriorate.
As previous speakers have noted, the headway made in the military drive against Al-Shabaab will be lasting only if it goes hand in hand with a robust, dynamic and credible political process. France welcomes the efforts of the Somali Government to reach agreement on a federal structure and better governance, particularly through the creation of regional interim administrations and a strengthened effort to combat corruption.
Beyond that, from a political point of view, 2016 will be a decisive year because of the elections. This will help to confer indisputable legitimacy on the country’s authorities, which will be able to continue and consolidate their efforts to bring Somalia back onto the path towards lasting peace and long-awaited development.