UN: UN Somalia envoy 'excited, worried' about political progress in 2015

New York, US (PANA) - UN Special Representative in Somalia, Mr. Nicholas Kay, on Wednesday stressed the importance of the partnership between the African Union (AU) and the UN in Somalia, which he called "unique, strong and essential for success" in the country.

Mr. Kay, who briefed the UN Security Council in New York on the challenges lying ahead for Somalia in 2015, said: "This year will be decisive in whether and how Somalia can become a unified, peaceful and federal State."

He expressed excitement about the development, but also worry over risks on the horizon, saying: "Delays and setbacks will have an even greater impact this year than last."

He said federalism and the Somali government’s "Vision 2016" initiative were vital to the plan for the year ahead, but he acknowledged that repeated political crises had shortened the timelines for their fulfillment significantly.

"Momentum gained in 2014 had to be maintained, particularly building the capacity of Interim Regional Administrations and establishing such bodies where none exists, and the review of the constitution, including important discussions on power and resource sharing, would need to be completed this year, with a Constitutional Referendum planned for early 2016.

"Other key decisions and preparations for that exercise and for elections also had to be made. Of particular importance was establishment of the National Independent Electoral Commission and the Boundaries and Federation Commission.

"We must continue to support and build the Federal Government’s leadership and capacity, but inclusive political processes will be the key and Somalia’s regions must play a full part in State-building and peacebuilding processes."

He stressed the importance of involving minority and marginalized groups, as well as women in the processes and he underlined the need to avoid political infighting, divisions and distractions.

"I worry that tensions will rise as the 2016 elections get closer," he noted, stressing that, it was up to Somalia’s political leaders to guide the process responsibly, build confidence among all groups and put aside narrow interests.

According to him a spirit of compromise is the hallmark of strength, not weakness.

The envoy also paid tribute to the work of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army, as well as the UN Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA), and looked forward to advances in the campaign against Al-Shabaab and improvements to the security situation for Somali civilians.

"Stabilisation has to work this year,” he said. “I look forward to greater implementation of the Federal Government’s stabilization strategy, particularly local reconciliation and peacebuilding activities.

Mr. Kay, who heads of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), praised the vital work of the UN Guard Unit, which allowed the UN to expand its presence in Mogadishu.

He said that the expansion, however, pushed the Guard Unit to the limits of its capacities and with demands upon it set to increase further as more effort was made to achieve stabilization and to fulfil Vision 2016, the Unit needed strengthening.

He welcomed Somalia’s recent ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, stressing the need for improved human rights for children and women and for the building of institutions like the Human Rights Commission.

The envoy, however, warned against complacency about the humanitarian situation in the country, saying: "Somalia is still teetering on the edge. In 2015, we must see concerted action by the Federal Government and international partners to pull it back from the brink."
-0- PANA AA/MA 4Feb2015

04 february 2015 22:52:00

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