(First published 17/12/2007)
Norway, as co-chair of the international Contact Group on Somalia, welcomes this opportunity to address the Council on the situation in Somalia, and we thank the Special Representative for his briefing. Let me take this opportunity to emphasize our full support for his efforts to bring about positive change in Somalia.
We are all deeply worried by the present state of affairs in Somalia. The security situation is at best volatile in Mogadishu and in several other areas of the country. The humanitarian crisis has gone from bad to worse, as hundreds of thousands flee the war-affected areas.
We are now at a critical junction for Somalia and for its Transitional Federal Institutions. We welcome the appointment of the new Prime Minister, Mr. Nur Hassan Hussein, and trust that he will focus on the humanitarian crisis in the country. He has indicated that this, along with improving security and deepening the reconciliation process, will be the main priorities of his government.
We support this approach. The problems of Somalia are closely inter-linked and can only be solved through a comprehensive effort. The international community must be ready to support this effort.
Security and lasting stability can only be achieved through a genuine and broad-based political reconciliation, a reconciliation which includes all Somali political forces that renounce violence and are ready to take part in a political process.
In order for the Transitional Federal Institutions to secure support and gain credibility from the Somali people, it is essential that the government is able to deliver a minimum of basic services. So far, this has hardly been possible, partly due to the insecurity and violence.
We should act more determined to deal with the humanitarian crisis and the suffering in Somalia. It may be time to consider a Compact between the Somali Transitional Federal Institutions, civil society and other institutions, and the UN and international agencies, to secure service delivery to the Somali people. Such a Compact could set out principles, commitments, and good practices guidelines for the delivery of necessary services. TFIs should also reach out to all groups who are ready to renounce violence to join in such a Compact. The TFIs should also make a firm commitment to stick with its mandate in the Transitional Federal Charter and the scheduled elections in 2009.
It is imperative to improve the security situation, which means there is an urgent need to strengthen – or substitute – the present AMISOM force with a more substantial peace building mission. This would also relieve Ethiopia of its present security burden, and make it possible for them to withdraw their troops.
Due to the prevailing security situation, the international presence in Mogadishu and surrounding areas is at best negligible, and this – as well as the absence of a functioning government – is hampering the work of humanitarian agencies. This is why we believe it is important for the UN and international agencies to increase their presence inside Mogadishu. Such a presence is important for service delivery, and as a signal to the Somali people that the international community cares.
The international community must be ready to act to alleviate the suffering of the Somali people and to contribute to peace. We strongly support the work of the Special Representative, and urge support for the new Prime Minister and his priorities. This is a critical point in time for Somalia, and it is time for all of us to support those who work for peace and stability in the country and in the region.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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