First, I would like to congratulate the United Kingdom on assuming the presidency of the Council and to ensure it of our full support. I also thank Togo for its presidency in February. I thank the Secretary-General and Special Representative Augustine Mahiga for their presentations and personal commitment to the stabilization of the situation in Somalia. I align myself with the statement to be made on behalf of the European Union.
Political and security developments in Somalia in recent months have rekindled hope. The international community and the Somali stakeholders must, however, ensure that these gains are lasting. On the security level, the stage is now set for the Somali Government to regain control of the whole country. The adoption of resolution 2036 (2012) gives the African Union unprecedented resources to strengthen its Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), enabling it not only to better secure the capital but also to combat Al-Shabaab actively in the territories of southern Somalia that the terrorist group still controls.
To support these efforts, it is now important for troop-contributing countries to swiftly mobilize the authorized troop contingents so they can become operational and consolidate such recent progress as the taking of Baidoa by the forces of the Transitional Federal Government and Ethiopia. Moreover, the African Union will need to swiftly establish appropriate command structures to enable effective coordination among troop-contributing countries. In that respect, we note with interest the implementation of the strategic concept and of AMISOM’s revised concept of operations.
Strengthening Transitional Federal Government forces must also be a priority for AMISOM. In particular, that will require the speedy establishment of a chain of command to strengthen the capacity of action of the Somali national forces that will ultimately need to ensure the stability of Somalia.
AMISOM currently relies on critical financial support from the European Union, which pays the totality of AMISOM troop salaries. The members of the European Union are currently considering the extent to which that financial support can be stepped up, given that the Union is already engaged at various levels in the region and the funds initially earmarked for AMISOM will not be enough to cover the costs incurred by increasing the troop ceiling mandated in resolution 2036 (2012). It is therefore vital, as stated in the resolution, that new contributors pledge to join the European Union in providing financial support.
In the political realm, the steps that were expected have been taken. The two successive Conferences held in Garowe enabled us to clarify the institutional architecture of the future Somali State. All of the Somali stakeholders made significant progress on key points of the road map. These efforts will have to be pursued in order to meet the timelines set out, including the adoption in May of a draft constitution. We trust that President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of the Transitional Federal Government and all Somali stakeholders will adhere to that timeline. The Council has said on many occasions that there can be no new extension of the transition period.
High priority must now be accorded to the challenge of establishing local and regional administrations in regions recovered from Al-Shabaab. Such administrations will be critical to preventing the fragmentation of the country and the emergence of new warlords, as well as to offering basic services to the civilian population. They will have to support the Government, the Garowe Principles and the road map.
In that context, we welcome the establishment, at the London conference of 23 February, of a stability fund for recovered zones that will complement the political stabilization of the recovered regions by contributing to their economic revival. The support of the United Nations is key to helping Somali institutions implement the road map. The relocation of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) to Mogadishu is vital in that respect. The bulk of United Nations personnel, however, remain in Nairobi, and we encourage a more general relocation to Mogadishu as soon as security conditions permit.
I conclude by addressing the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia. This global challenge is being tackled on an unprecedented scale by the European Union through Operation Atalanta. Numerous pirates are arrested by Atalanta vessels every year. It is vital therefore for the States of the region, above all Somalia, to assume their responsibilities and establish the necessary arrangements to allow the legal and penitentiary processing of these pirates. It is utterly unacceptable that pirates arrested at great cost should be released without trial. As the final communiqué of the London conference stresses, specialized Somali courts would satisfy these needs. Furthermore, I stress the absolute need for Somalia to adopt anti-piracy legislation, in accordance with the road map.