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Stability must be promoted

Stability must be promoted
Targeted sanctions could be an effective way to deal with "spoilers" in Somalia, but the approach must be flexible enough to allow them to change course and work for peace.

Targeted sanctions could be an effective way to deal with "spoilers" in Somalia, but the approach must be flexible enough to allow them to change course and work for peace.

Targeted sanctions could be an effective way to deal with "spoilers" in Somalia, but the approach must be flexible enough to allow them to change course and work for peace, B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Security Council last week. After years of conflict, peace would not come to Somalia overnight, he said as he briefed the Council along with Craig Boyd, Director of the United Nations Support Operation to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Stability must be promoted, he added, and national and external spoilers must be neutralized.

The past few months had not been easy, Mr. Pascoe pointed out, but he commended the Transitional Federal Government for overcoming repeated attacks by heavily armed groups. He said that police and troops loyal to the Government were being trained, with the international community's support, and there was slow but notable progress towards stability, adding that the determined commitment of AMISOM and the African Union to remain fully focused on Somalia was all the more impressive given the deadly suicide bombing last month at the AMISOM Headquarters in the troubled capital city of Mogadishu.

Mr. Boyd, speaking on behalf of Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Susana Malcorra, described the provision of the support package for AMISOM and the strengthening of Somalia's security sector, mandated under the first phase of incremental United Nations security support to the country. Thanking donors, he said that confirmed pledges totalled some $200 million, but a critical gap still remained between that figure and donor disbursements. The situation would be discussed tomorrow at a meeting to follow up on the April donors' conference.

Contributions to the AMISON trust fund stood at almost $25 million, or 80 per cent of total pledges, he said. Expenditure from the fund should begin shortly, with reimbursements for non-lethal equipment, radio broadcasting and other public information in Mogadishu and earlier medical costs representing priority expenses.

He said the current military strength of AMISON in Mogadishu stood at about 5,200 troops, or 65 per cent of the mandated force of 8,000 troops. Burundi and Uganda had each deployed three battalions and both countries had offered to provide a fourth battalion, which, along with the offer of Djibouti to contribute a special-forces unit of 400 troops, would bring the Mission close to its mandated strength.

The General Assembly, he said, had approved funding of $139 million for the support package which had so far provided food to AMISOM troops and concluded a fuel contract. Other United Nations arrangements for AMISOM already in place, or nearly so, included medical facilities, Mission headquarters, a strategic communications network and maritime transport, which had brought field defence stores, medical supplies, an airport fire-fighting vehicle and a range of engineering equipment.

He stressed that the Department of Field Support was fully committed to supporting AMISOM, but Mogadishu was currently a very challenging environment and attacks would potentially slow the full delivery of the mandated support package. He saluted AMISOM for the commitment and resilience of its personnel and stressed the close working relationship his office had with the Mission. He also thanked the Government of Kenya for its cooperation and provision of land for a logistics support base.

Following those presentations, Council members strongly supported the recent work of AMISOM and the transitional Government in the face of extreme security challenges, expressing their condolences to the Mission's contingents there for losses in the attacks of 17 September and calling for firm action to deal with "spoilers". Most also commended Uganda and Burundi for their troop contributions, and called on those nations that had pledged additional troops to realize those pledges. Many also urged the international community to make good on their financial commitments.

Most speakers also supported the three-phased approach to United Nations involvement in Somalia, which had begun with the support package and would progress to a "light footprint" for the Organization on the ground, followed by a transition from AMISOM to a United Nations peacekeeping mission, if the Council determined that conditions permitted it.

Uganda's representative, however, urged a faster deployment of security assistance, given the dire situation. It was necessary to ask whether the current approach was commensurate with the threat on the ground. In addition, he advocated more assistance in humanitarian and governance sectors, to give the Somali people a source of hope.

Speaking after Council Members, the representative of Somalia thanked all of those who were assisting his country, and agreed with Uganda's call for an acceleration of the incremental approach to security support, saying his Government would welcome the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers, and the sooner the better.

Also speaking this morning were the representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Turkey, Japan, Russian Federation, China, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Austria, Mexico, France, Croatia, Libya and Vietnam.


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