Opening Remarks by USG for Political Affairs at the Ministerial HLPF on Somalia

19 Nov 2014

Opening Remarks by USG for Political Affairs at the Ministerial HLPF on Somalia

Copenhagen – Your Excellency, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Government of Somalia, Your Excellency, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am honored to be with you today. I thank our generous hosts, the Government of Denmark, and all of you for your commitment to Somalia.

I bring you the greetings of the Secretary-General, who visited Mogadishu last month together with the President of the World Bank and many of the regional partners here – another sign of our broadening and deepening international engagement in Somalia.


In my career of over 30 years in international affairs, I have never known a year like 2014. In the Middle East, in Ukraine, in West Africa, we have seen relentless crises, conflict and human suffering.

Somalia has stood out as different - a bright spot, a positive narrative in the making.

Of course this does not mean plain sailing. In speaking to the Security Council last month, our Special Representative Nick Kay called it a country “waking from a terrible nightmare”. Some of Somalia’s old shadows still haunt us. And the waking world has its own challenges.
But in this forum, together, we can face the challenges frankly as partners - with our eyes open, and focused on the day ahead.


So much has been achieved since we met in Brussels just over a year ago.

First, Somalia has made strides towards building regional administrations that will be the foundation of a federal state. I want to congratulate our Somali partners on this ongoing effort, which takes great courage and compromise from all sides.

I am glad to see representatives of Somalia’s regions with us today including His Excellency President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas of Puntland and His Excellency Ahmed Mohamed Islam Madobe of the Interim Jubba Administration. Your common work in building inclusive, representative governance will be key to Somalia’s future and to delivering on our Compact. I want to take this opportunity to pledge our support, and to encourage you especially to include women at all levels in your work.

Second, the campaign against Al-Shabaab has advanced. I salute the courage and sacrifice of Somali security forces and AMISOM. Their courage and sacrifice have denied Al-Shabaab their last strongholds, and we rely on them to consolidate security and enable access to these areas in the months ahead.

We must continue to support Somalia in stabilization and building sustainable security. That must include a comprehensive approach to counter-terrorism.

Third, we have seen progress in our partnership for transparent finance through the Financial Governance Committee. This is critical to build confidence in Somalia’s economy at home and abroad. Much more must be done. But international economic investment is already significant and growing.


Overall Somalia is in a better state than it has been in a generation. These gains have been the result of a strategic, effective partnership, both internationally, and among Somalia’s federal leadership that gave us faith and confidence.

That is why I feel great sadness at the current political situation.

The news and scenes of the past few weeks in Mogadishu are not new. They remind us of the old nightmare: a return to the political fragmentation of the past, and to its same results - promises broken, opportunities lost, progress reversed.

This is not what Somalis have asked of their leaders. It is not for this that Somalis and AMISOM partners have laid down their lives. As the international community, it shakes our confidence that the risks we are taking in Somalia – physical, military, financial - are worth the cost.

I truly hope that this will not be Somalia’s future.

Only Somalis can take the steps that are needed to ensure unity and stability within the government, and re-set progress on the right track.

I urge His Excellency the President and all our Somali colleagues to ensure that the current crisis is resolved rapidly, with new commitment to unity, stability, and delivery on the milestones to which you have pledged.

In turn, we as international partners must ourselves must live up to the partnership principles we have pledged, and fulfil the commitments of this Compact.

Together, we all need to do better to ensure that our investment and commitment in Somalia is matched by results on the ground.

The Compact we will renew today remains the right tool. I look forward to our discussions today as partners. Let us especially remember our commitment that this New Deal is with, and for the benefit of the people of Somalia. It is for us to help them forge the foundation of democracy, stability and prosperity on which they will rebuild their lives.

I wish you a productive conference.