Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia
The United Nations Security Council held an informal interactive dialogue with Somalia’s Prime Minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, the AU Commission’s special representative for Somalia, Ambassador Maman Sidikou, and Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) on Monday (June 8).
Council Members discussed how to enhance AMISOM’s military campaign against Al-Shabaab as operations enter the “final stage”. Prime Minister Sharmarke told reporters after the meeting that he expected Al-Shabaab extremists to be defeated militarily by the end of the year but, he added, tackling the root causes that attract young people to the al-Qaida-linked group would take time. He said there might be increased attacks during June when the holy month of Ramadan begins.
The Prime Minister the military campaign by Somali and African Union forces had been largely successful and the militants only controlled 20% of the country. He said “We are really on the verge of defeating them in terms of conventional arms.” He was looking forward to having all states liberated by the end of the year and stabilization programs under way in every district to revitalize the economy, establish rule of law, and start educating and providing jobs for young people.
Ambassador Sidikou said AMISOM would be moving even more forcefully against Al-Shabaab in the coming weeks and but added that AMISOM needed to be reconfigured to make it more effective against Al-Shabaab. He said “We need to destroy them because that’s the only language they know.” UN Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay told reporters that the situation in the country remained a “distinctive bright spot” on the Council’s agenda as the Somalia continued down its road towards political recovery and increased security.
Mr. Kay said it was being successful because the process was Somali-led and Somali-owned and it was the result of a unique partnership between the African Union, the UN, and the Federal Government. He said the gains on the ground underscored the successes of a cohesive military operation which was only “one component in a comprehensive approach.” At his last briefing to the Security Council in May, Mr. Kay said the momentum had been regained in efforts to achieve political progress, emphasizing the work of federal, regional and local leaders and parliamentarians to build a State through dialogue and reconciliation, and their commitment to deliver Somalia’s Vision 2016.
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