Friday, September 5, 2008

The Security Council is briefed on peace-keeping options for Somalia

A Week in the Horn
5 September 2008
Addis Ababa

Yesterday, a UN Security Council Presidential statement welcomed the formal signing of the Djibouti Agreement on August 19, and urged the TFG and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia to fully implement their commitments under the accord, which, the statement said, “should provide the basis for lasting peace, security and stability for the people of Somalia.” The statement, read by Ambassador Michael Kafondo of Burkino Faso which holds the presidency this month, said “In particular, the Council underlines the crucial importance of the parties taking all necessary measures to ensure, without delay, unhindered humanitarian access and assistance to the Somali people, and of the parties and their allies terminating all acts of armed confrontation.” The Security Council said it would continuously monitor the implementation of the accord. It reiterated its strong support for the efforts of AMISOM, and noted that the TFG and the ARS had requested the UN to authorize and deploy an international stabilization force. It said it would consider establishing a UN peacekeeping force to take over from AMISOM, and asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to elaborate on his contingency planning for a UN integrated peacekeeping mission in Somalia, including its mandate, size and geographical scope, as well as identifying the countries that might contribute the necessary personnel, equipment or financing for such a mission.

In his latest briefing to the Security Council, last week, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Mr Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, noted the process of political reconciliation had shown progress with the agreement to set up the Joint Security and High Level (political) committees. He urged the Security Council to demonstrate its support for this progress. On recent fighting in Kismayo, Mr. Ould-Abdallah said the reasons for the fighting were social and economic. It was not a clash between the TFG and Al-Shabaab but among factions of the Darod clan to control the city. Mr. Ould-Abdallah called on the Council to deploy a peace-keeping force as soon as possible. He said the people of Somalia would support any such move and that the situation in the country was now positive. The Security Council recently renewed the mandate of AMISOM, and requested the Secretary-General to work with the AU to strengthen UN logistical, political and technical support to help bring AMISOM up to UN standards. However, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peace-keeping Operations, Mr. Edmond Mulat, who also briefed the Security Council last week, felt the current situation was still not conducive for the deployment of a UN peace-keeping operation. A more possible alternative, he felt, was a stabilization force, made up of a “Coalition of the Willing”, first suggested by the Secretary-General in March. Member states could contribute contingents which would be authorized by the Security Council. Mr. Mulat said that the Secretary-General could report back to the Security Council within 30 days after consulting with possible contributing countries. The Chief of Staff of the Office of the Military Advisor told the Security Council that, considering the operations and attacks taking place in Mogadishu, a force of two well-armed brigades, a naval force and a reserve contingent would be needed. According to reports, this suggestion of a stabilization force appeals to members of the Security Council more than any deployment of a formal UN peace-keeping force. Though it is difficult to confirm it is reported that several countries including France, Britain, Russia, Belgium Costa Rica and Vietnam are against the deployment of a United Nations peace-keeping force, while the US, South Africa, Libya and Burkina Faso reportedly favour speeding up activities to deploy such a force.

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