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6 June 2013 - Security Council - Somalia - Statement by Mr. Philippe Bertoux, Political Counsellor of France to the United Nations

(UN translation)

Mr. President and Minister, I welcome your participation in today’s debate. I welcome also the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Somalia, and I thank the Deputy Secretary-General for his briefing.

For over a year, undeniable progress has been made in Somalia, with the recovering by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Security Forces of territories held by Al-Shabaab; the completion of the transition, which marked a political turning point with the election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud; and even the hope of economic recovery. These developments are undoubtedly positive. Nonetheless, they remain fragile and reversible.

At the security level, progress seems to have reached a plateau. Al-Shabaab has proved to be resilient. It still controls significant areas and has demonstrated, through deadly actions, its ability to conduct destabilization operations in the liberated territories. In addition, as underscored by the Secretary-General, AMISOM no longer seems able to recover new territories.

At the political level, the Government is facing difficulties in establishing the regional administrations. The current tensions in the south, especially in Kismaayo, are the result of various factors: clan rivalries, foreign influences and problems related to the sharing of resources. This crisis has the potential to destabilize southern Somalia and undermine months of progress.

Faced with these challenges, the Council must continue its support for AMISOM and its troops, whose sacrifices are immense. The Council must also continue its support for the Somali authorities, whose duties are just as important. We cannot lose this opportunity to pull Somalia out of the vicious circle in which it has been caught for more than 20 years.

The military effort must be carefully considered in three stages. In the immediate future, we must ensure that the Ethiopian withdrawal from western Somalia takes place in coordination with AMISOM. We must avoid creating a security vacuum, which would allow Al-Shabaab to regain its foothold in the liberated areas. The Ugandan and Burundian contingents must be deployed, in accordance with agreements reached with Ethiopia, as soon as possible.

In the medium term, we must think about a strategy for taking back the Somali territory that remains under the control of Al-Shabaab. We must also think about how to strengthen AMISOM to enable it to expand its area of control. In that context, we must take into account existing budgetary constraints. It should be recalled that, since 2007, the European Union and its member States have been the main financial contributors to this operation, the costs of which have significantly increased since the beginning of 2012. New contributors are now essential in order for the effort to be continued.

In the long term, our strategic priority must be to strengthen the capacity of the Somali forces, which is the only response that could sustainably stabilize the country. To that end, we encourage Member States to strengthen their cooperation with the Somali forces, following the example of the training undertaken by the European Union. We also expect the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to provide all necessary support to the Somali Government to coordinate international assistance in the area of security.

In the absence of a political solution in connection with regional administration, our military efforts will be insufficient. A negotiated political solution must be found to the current crisis in Kismaayo. To that end, France supports the mediation role of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in accordance with the terms of the communiqué adopted at the summit of the IGAD Heads of State and Government, held in Addis Ababa on 24 May. We call on all parties to exercise restraint and work towards national reconciliation. Neighbouring States should also play a constructive role in helping the Somali Government. UNSOM may, for its part, contribute through its good-offices mandate. In any event, it is essential that the Security Council redouble its monitoring of that issue given its potential for destabilization.

In that regard, my delegation is gratified by the message sent by the draft presidential statement that we will adopt at the end of this debate.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU