British Ambassador to Somalia, Nairobi
May 21, 2012
This week the Roadmap signatories meet in Addis. Their aim? To resolve a number of outstanding issues relating to the political process. And it’s vital they do.
Over the next few months, the Signatories have an historic opportunity to make real progress and help Somalia move forward towards greater stability. Theirs is a challenging agenda: ending the Transition successfully and succeeding it with institutions that are more legitimate and credible is a considerable task. But it’s also an essential one.
To achieve this, it’s vital that the Signatories do two things:
- Firstly to make the process as inclusive and representative as possible of the views and wishes of the Somali people.
- Secondly, to continue to work together in the spirit and letter of the Roadmap and Garowe agreements. Clearly there is much still to agree and resolve – not least a number of the key provisions in the draft Constitution.
If these conditions are met, then there will be an historic opportunity to move the process forward and set the foundations for greater stability in Somalia. Somalia’s leaders now need to decide whether they are prepared to put aside personal differences and interests and help bring peace and security to Somalia after 21 years of conflict, or whether this will be another wasted opportunity for future generations to regret.
If Somalia’s leaders are ready and willing to do the right thing, the UK, together with our international partners and the UN, will make sure the process doesn’t suffer for lack of resources. As a whole, the international community is providing $11m to support the political process, of which the UK is providing over $1.5m. There will also be an opportunity at the forthcoming Istanbul conference on Somalia to ensure the international community is pulling in the same direction, and coordinated in its efforts to support Somalia through the transitional process.
Political debate is essential – and helpful – to delivering this. But disagreement should not be allowed to become an excuse for blocking the process. That is why we support the recent UN, AU and IGAD joint letter on ensuring that the process isn’t obstructed by so-called ‘spoilers’. Together with our international partners, the UK is clear that those that stand in the way of both this process should be penalised.
A critical part of getting the political process right is for the Roadmap signatories to explain to the Somali people how it will work: how clan elders were chosen to appoint the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), how the members of the NCA will be chosen, how differences over the constitution will be resolved, and what the timetable is. The constitution must also be published as quickly as possible.
Once again, my appeal is simple: please do get involved and make your views and opinions known. This is a significant opportunity; and it’s important that it reflects the genuine concerns of all Somalis. And one that, by working together, can help take Somalia forward.