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Somalia seeks to dissolve UN Assistance Mission as it eyes UN Security Council seat


Thursday May 9, 2024


FILE - UN Secretary-General António Guterres (left) shakes hands with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

Mogadishu (HOL) - The Somali government has called for the dissolution of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) when its mandate expires in October 2024 as it seeks a seat on the UN Security Council and aims to handle its security matters independently.

In a detailed letter to the UN Security Council, Somali Foreign Minister Ahmed Mali Fiqi articulated the 
government's position, suggesting that the change is overdue. "We believe that it is now appropriate to transition to the next phase of our partnership,Fiqi wrote, advocating for the swift conclusion of procedures to terminate the mission by the mandate's end.

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The government's request comes less than a month after Catriona Laing, the United Nations Special Representative to Somalia, announced that her tenure would end on May 21, 2024. António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, appointed Laing in 2023. 

Laing's tenure as UN Special Representative to Somalia was noticeably shorter than that of her predecessors, who had served for up to three years. The reasons for her early departure are unclear.  

The request also comes as Somalia continues to combat the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militant group, amidst a broader backdrop of a long-running jihadist insurgency. Despite these security challenges, the Somali government insists that the specialized political mission, which has been advising on governance, peacebuilding, and security reforms, is no longer necessary.

UNSOM has been a significant presence in Somalia, advising the federal government and a 14,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force. This force, known as ATMIS, is also scheduled to withdraw and transfer security responsibilities back to Somali control by year-end. The termination of UNSOM, established in 2013 and renewed over 15 times by Security Council resolutions, marks a critical juncture in Somalia‚Äôs pursuit of self-governance.

An official from the United Nations Mission underscored Somalia's commitment to global peace and security dialogues, reflecting on the upcoming non-permanent seat Somalia is vying for on the United Nations Security Council for the 2025-26 term. "The competition for the seat showcases Somalia's engagement in peace and security discussions worldwide,the official said.

In mid-February, the Somali government announced that the African Union's Executive Council had selected Somalia as East Africa's sole candidate for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.  

The UN has expressed readiness to support Somalia's new direction. "We stand ready to follow the instructions of the council and remain committed to collaborating and partnering with the federal government,stated the UN in an official response.

Despite the significant role of UNSOM and the impending changes, other UN offices, including humanitarian agencies, will continue to operate in Somalia, ensuring ongoing support for the nation's development and stabilization efforts.



 





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