Remarks by the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Catriona Laing, to the media, during her visit to Kismayo, Jubaland

17 Jun 2023

Remarks by the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Catriona Laing, to the media, during her visit to Kismayo, Jubaland

Edited for length and clarity

Thank you very much, Mr. President, for the very warm welcome you and your team have extended to me here in Kismayo, Jubaland.

It is such a pleasure to be back in Kismayo. I was here in the original UN Mission during the mid-1990s, where I had a very nice visit to the port and so on. So, it is really wonderful to be back.

I am coming to the end of my first two weeks in my role as UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, and this is the final of my Federal Member State visits as part of this tour. I will be travelling to New York shortly to [deliver] my first Security Council briefing on the 22nd of June. So, it is incredibly helpful to hear directly from the presidents of the Federal Member States to understand their priorities and what they want from the UN.

We talked firstly about security, the progress that's been made, reclaiming areas and the really important follow-on around stabilisation. And I committed to ensuring the UN is fully behind those objectives to secure the area permanently and to come in with basic services to help people to rebuild their lives and rebuild trust with communities. 

We talked about the humanitarian situation, which remains very challenging here. There are particular issues around access to some parts of this state. But nevertheless, the UN is committed to try and bring life-saving support whilst we also look at longer-term solutions around climate change.

And then, finally, we talked about politics, both here locally and at the federal level. And I heard from the president [about] his strategy for engaging the Gedo region to try and ensure they remain part of the state and [that] they're all working together in support of the people of Jubaland. And then the president explained to me the role he's been playing in the National Consultative Council and the importance of those deliberations – reaching out to the people in an inclusive consultative process, including, hopefully Puntland, so that the country can complete its very important journey on state-building and peacebuilding, rebuilding the country for the benefit of all Somalis. And then, finally again, I recommitted the role of the UN and its good offices, as well as development programmes, in support of the people of Jubaland.

Thank you very much again, Mr. President, for your very warm welcome.