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Somalia facing complex immediate and long-term challenges, UN Security Council told

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A wide view of the Security Council Chamber as Michael Keating (left on screen), Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), briefs the Council via video link. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

13 September 2017 – Highlighting complex immediate and long-term challenges in Somalia, the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in the country (UNSOM) called for practical support, as well as political encouragement to the Somali leadership, both at the Federal and the state levels.

“The worst of the famine threat has been averted [but] damage to lives and livelihoods, particularly women, children and marginalised groups, has been extensive,” said Michael Keating, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, briefing the Security Council.

“An imperative for Somalis is to escape the vicious cycle of recurring weather-related shocks,” he added.

Another pressing issue before the country, Mr. Keating said, is of political problems becoming complicated by ill-defined relationships between various branches of the State, and in such a situation, the Federal Government’s management of the situation to prevent them from threatening progress on core objectives and the stability of the state was crucial.

In that context, he highlighted that the working relationship between the President and the Prime Minister as well as the determination of the federal Government to deliver “tangible economic and security benefits” for the population is very encouraging.

He also highlighted progress on preparing and passing important laws, such as the Telecommunications Bill and the Human Rights Commission Act, and said that completing the constitutional review was a critical task for the successful holding of elections in 2020-2021.

“The legislative framework and agreement on the electoral model are urgently needed,” he said, adding that these would help dispel scepticism on whether Somalia can move away from the so-called “4.5 model” to universal suffrage.

Realizing vast economic potential depends on addressing political issues
Highlighting the country’s economic potential in sectors ranging from agribusiness, livestock, fisheries, trade to renewable and other energy sources, Mr. Keating stressed that realizing the potential is contingent upon success in reaching a political settlement between the Government and the private sector, as well as on Government policies and capacities to implement them.

“A critical requirement will be raising revenues, whether from domestic sources or by accessing concessional finance,” he said, noting the Prime Minister’s appeal for immediate budget support to allow the Government to deliver on jobs and security, and to strengthen relations with Federal Member States by means of fiscal transfers.

The UN envoy also informed the Security Council of the UN-World Bank collaboration to devise a “surge support” package for public works, and urged partners to follow the European Union (EU), Norway and Sweden’s lead to use Recurrent Cost and Reform Financing Facility to that end.

Mogadishu is safer, but larger security situation volatile
Further in his briefing, Mr. Keating noted security improvements in the capital, Mogadishu, but added that the Al-Shabaab terrorist groups continues remains a potent threat that the overall security situation in Somalia remains volatile.

“Addressing insecurity and the continuing threat from Al-Shabaab requires vigorous implementation of the National Security Architecture Agreement and of the Comprehensive Approach to Security,” he said, noting that international partners have started working on its components.

He also underscored the need to ensure predictable funding for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) given that it continues to play an indispensable role in protecting Somali progress and people and as national security forces are not yet ready to shoulder full responsibilities.

At the same time, Mr. Keating added, support should also continue for the Somali security forces to strengthen their capacity.

Concluding his briefing, he informed that the UN is working with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union, the European Union (EU) and other partners to strengthen national conflict resolution capacities as well as to facilitate agreements in specific locations.

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Somali fisherwoman breaks boundaries in Mogadishu

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Riyan Abukar Ali is determined to succeed as a fisherwoman in Somalia, in a trade dominated by men.

She used be a tuk-tuk driver, but took to the seas off the coast of the capital Mogadishu when the social pressures of being a woman in her previous job became too much.

Video journalists: Alinur Hassan and Mohamud Abdisamad

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Ethiopian PM says they will continue to develop Berbera Port so Ethiopia and Somaliland can benefit

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Somalia’s al Shabaab denounces ex-spokesman as apostate who could be killed

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Somali al Shabaab Islamist militants, who have carried out frequent bombings in the capital, Mogadishu, said a former leader who defected to the government side was an apostate who could be killed.

Al Shabaab fell out with its former spokesman and deputy leader, Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansur, in 2013. He defected to the U.N.-backed government in August last year.

Al Shabaab has been fighting for years to try to topple Somalia’s central government and rule the Horn of Africa country according to its own interpretation of Islamic law.

“If Mukhtar Robow thinks he can destroy Islamic sharia and the mujahedeen, he is deluded. Allah will protect Islam and Jihad will not stop just because of you and your likes who joined the enemies,” Ali Mohamud Rage, al Shabaab’s spokesman, said in a video posted late on Monday.

It was not immediately possible to reach Robow for comment.

“No doubt, Mukhtar Robow left his religion and joined the disbelievers and the enemies are still the enemies,” al shabaab’s spokesman said.

“Anybody who joins the line of non-Muslims is an apostate who can be killed.”

A report by rights body Human Rights Watch released on Monday said al Shabaab had threatened and abducted civilians in Somalia’s Bay region to force communities to hand over their children for indoctrination and military training in recent months.

“Al Shabaab’s ruthless recruitment campaign is taking rural children from their parents so they can serve this militant armed group,” said Laetitia Bader, senior Africa researcher for the rights body.

The insurgents, who are allied with al Qaeda, were driven out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011. They have also since lost nearly all other territory they previously controlled after an offensive by Somali government troops and African Union-mandated AMISOM peacekeepers.

Al Shabaab, however, remains a formidable threat and has carried out bombings both in Mogadishu and other towns against military and civilian targets.

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