UNITED NATIONS, Feb 14 (KUNA) -- A UN official on Thursday said the current
conditions in Somalia do not allow the establishment of a UN peacekeeping
operation and recommended instead the establishment of a UN Assistance Mission.
Addressing the Security Council as it examined the next stage of the UN
engagement in Somalia, Assistance Secretary-General for Political Affairs
Taye-Brook Zerihoun said the UN Assistance Mission, as recommended by UN Chief
Ban Ki-moon in his latest report, "reflects the best current option" for the
UN to provide support to peace building and to meet other development and
He suggested that the Council liquidate the UN Political Office in Somalia
(UNPOS), which "is not configured to provide the support required" by the new
Government, and establish instead a "broader peace-building Mission," short of
a peacekeeping force.
"The Secretary-General remains committed to full structural integration as
soon as the conditions allow, and to keeping the option of a UN peacekeeping
operation under review for the future," Zerihoun said.
He conceded that the growing expanse of territory liberated from Islamist
militants Al-Shabab has created an "opportunity" for the Federal Government to
extend its control over the country and enhance its legitimacy amongst
Somalis, adding that the Government is working to fill the vacuum through an
inclusive bottom up approach.
"Despite several attacks by Al-shabab, there is now a tangible sense of
security and optimism in Mogadishu," he said. However, he added, Al-shabab "is
not yet defeated, and its presence continues to hamper freedom of movement for
Somalis and those who would assist them".
On Somalia's request for the Council to ease the arms embargo on the
Government to facilitate the development of the Somalia security sector,
Zerihoun said Ban is rather for a "calibrated" approach based on all the
factors at play in order to avoid the proliferation of "uncontrolled" weapons
that could exacerbate the security situation.
His view was not shared by Fawzia Adam, Somalia's Deputy Prime Minister and
Foreign Minister, who told the Council that the lifting of the arms embargo is
a "prerequisite" for consolidating peace in the recovered areas from
Al-shabab, and to allow the National Armed Forces to assume "full
responsibility for our own security".
"The Somali Government reiterates its request for lifting the arms embargo.
(It) will put in place the necessary mechanisms to ensure that armaments do
not fall into the wrong hands," she stressed.
She noted that Al-shabab is "weakened, its leadership in disarray and on
the run. We are committed to continue the fight against this scourge until the
final victory is realized".
She said "we have no illusions" about the "serious challenges" that remain,
despite the progress in different areas.
She said her Government seeks a "permanent partnership" with the UN, its
member states and the entire UN family to assist the country until "we are
fully able to stand on our own feet".
"Our strong position is that there must be an integrated UN Mission, which
would bring the system to deliver and speak as one," she said, inviting
Council members to visit Somalia in the near future to witness the "dramatic
changes and opportunities". (end)
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