Prof. U. Joy Ogwu
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
New York, NY
16th September, 2010
It is indeed a pleasure to welcome Ambassador Mahiga to the Security Council and to listen to his inaugural briefing in his capacity as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia. I should like to congratulate him on his appointment and to wish him success in his new assignment. We take this opportunity to offer him our fullest support.
I also welcome the Foreign Minister of Kenya, whose presentation was not only very frank, but also most compelling. I thank the Permanent Representative of Somalia for his very lucid statement.
The briefing that we have heard today once again paints a mixed picture of Somalia. It is a picture of hope and a picture of apprehension. On the positive side, we note with satisfaction that, despite the tensions within the transitional federal institutions, there was considerable momentum generated by, among other things, the high-level meetings of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union summit in Kampala, the appointment of a new Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and the joint briefings three days ago by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM.
The formation of a new Cabinet by Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, which includes members of Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama’a, demonstrates the ability of the Government to accommodate other interests. The momentum, we believe, could be appropriately utilized to galvanize more action on the ground that will be beneficial to the people of Somalia.
There is no way peace will last in Somalia if, as the Secretary-General states in his report, volatility and insecurity between the insurgents and Government forces continue to adversely affect the civilian population in Mogadishu. The terrorist attack on the Muna Hotel during the month of Ramadan, which left over 70 people dead, was both cowardly and despicable. We deplore both the attack and its perpetrators. We believe that when all parties commit to peace and take practical steps to consolidate it, the desired change will endure in the country. In that connection, Nigeria welcomes the Secretary-General’s recommendations and believes that, if implemented, they will have a significant impact in Somalia. The responsibility for making progress and achieving results in Somalia lies with all the major stakeholders, including the Somali people, AMISOM, the Security Council and all relevant partners.
On AMISOM, the briefing gave a clear indication that the Mission is on the right track and that its existing strategies are helping in no small measure to deal with the challenges in Somalia. Without the presence of AMISOM, the situation in Somalia would indeed be hard to imagine. Given AMISOM’s commendable role, concerted efforts should be made to provide support that is commensurate with the operational mandates. It is a recipe for failure to deploy troops without giving them the requisite support, particularly when that support is available. It is time, therefore, to rethink our support strategy.
We want to underline the need for AMISOM forces to be paid the same rates of allowance as United Nations peacekeepers. Furthermore, troop-contributing countries should be refunded early for their contingent owned equipment. These countries are making enormous sacrifices to deploy their troops and equipment in a difficult environment. The Council should find ways to encourage countries such as Guinea and Djibouti that are planning to deploy. In this regard, we strongly appeal to donors that have placed caveats preventing the use of their contributions for any expenditure related to the military component of AMISOM to remove those caveats in order to free resources for the reimbursement of AMISOM troop contributors. We welcome in particular the Secretary General’s recommendation that, in order to overcome the resource gap, the support package for AMISOM should be identical to the support provided to United Nations peacekeeping operations. We also support his recommendation that parity be ensured between the reimbursement rates for AMISOM and United Nations contingent personnel.
Nigeria reiterates its support for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and welcomes the progress it has made, despite the difficulties and internal disputes it faces. The TFG needs broad and all encompassing support to implement key transitional tasks, fight piracy and insurgency, engage in political dialogue and national reconciliation, and, indeed, extend its authority within the country, beginning with Mogadishu. It also requires support in order to engage in genuine dialogue and sustained consultation. Without adequate support, the TFG will be unable to fulfill the transitional agenda, while extremists will be emboldened to continue their attacks on both the TFG and AMISOM.
The heinous attacks of 11 July in Kampala by agents of Al-Shabaab are a grim reminder of how easily the situation in Somalia could spill over into the entire region, with dire consequences. This situation gives rise to the need for concerted and purposeful support for the TFG. A core aspect of this would be to stabilize the security environment by reinforcing the training, equipping and sustenance of the Somali police force and the national security forces. This will not be possible if efforts are not made to mobilize resources to assist Somalia. As the Secretary-General notes in his report (S/2010/447), the United Nations does not have the resources to adequately pay the police and civil servants or to reimburse countries contributing troops to AMISOM. It is needless to add that the challenges in Somalia must be able to benefit from the expertise and efficiency of an integrated United Nations system. We therefore underscore the need for the integration of the United Nations system in Somalia.
Nigeria welcomes the strong and continuing partnership between the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the African Union and the United Nations in Somalia. Indeed, we owe a debt of gratitude to the gallant men and women of the military forces of Uganda and Burundi for their efforts and commitment to the cause of peace in Somalia. We also take this opportunity to salute the dedication of international aid and humanitarian workers in that country.