SRSG Keating congratulates Somalia on 56th independence anniversary
PRESS STATEMENT 17/2016
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia Michael Keating congratulated the people and Government of Somalia on the anniversary of the country’s independence. Mr. Keating praised the entrepreneurship and perseverance of the Somali people as their country emerges from decades of uncertainty and conflict.
"The last 56 years have been turbulent for Somalis" said SRSG Keating. "Their extraordinary political journey continues. Unfortunately, insecurity remains a major problem. But Somalia continues to make remarkable progress in so many fields, political, security and economic, defying even many Somalis' expectations".
This year will see the conduct of a limited franchise electoral process. Last week, the National Leadership Forum (NLF) met in Baidoa to agree on practical preparations for the process, which will be a major stepping stone towards One Person, One Vote elections in 2020.
“This is a crucial year for Somalia,” said Mr. Keating. “Organising an electoral process that is recognized as fair and free from manipulation or intimidation is a challenge. I commend Somali leaders for their commitment to ensure a process that is seen as legitimate and more inclusive than 2012".
SRSG Keating praised the work of Somalia’s security forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia to counter the menace of violent extremism and underscored the crucial role they continue to play. "Strengthening the capability of Somali National Security Forces is essential, not only to partner with AMISOM but also as part of Somalia's state building objectives", he said. The NLF recently endorsed the National Security Policy and the new National Policing Model.
“The last few years have seen the gradual emergence of a federal state, of national as well as regional institutional capacity, and of laws and plans that provide a basis for meeting Somalis' expectations. Progress is tangible, and confidence is growing. But it is still vulnerable", said Mr. Keating. He noted that the overwhelming majority of Somalis have rejected violence as a means of resolving differences, but that al-Shabaab remains a threat, especially to civilians.
"The United Nations and the broader international community want to support Somalis as they map out the way ahead, towards a more participatory and inclusive government, a thriving economy with more jobs for young people, as well as capable and accountable security forces".