Transcript of UN Secretary-General's joint press conference at London Somalia Conference

11 May 2017

Transcript of UN Secretary-General's joint press conference at London Somalia Conference

Secretary-General’s joint press conference at the London Somalia Conference with Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, and Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia

Thank you very much first of all, to the Government of the United Kingdom, to Boris Johnson, for having had the initiative of this conference, and to the President of Somalia for having created the political conditions that allowed it to happen.

And this conference was an unmitigated success. This conference has created the conditions for an opportunity to materialize. An opportunity that we cannot miss. An opportunity to take Somalia out of decades of conflict, of poverty, and of terrible suffering from Somali people. An opportunity to defeat terrorism and to establish peace. An opportunity to allow for the build up of national Somali institutions and lay the foundations of a normal economic and social development process.

And this opportunity is possible because we have in Somalia a President of the Government that has a strategy and a plan of action that makes sense and deserves the support of the international community. But now, for the opportunity not to missed, the international community needs to come together and to massively support Somalia.

First of all, responding to the appeals to increase humanitarian aid, to be able to face the dramatic challenge of food and security and disease in the country.

Second, to fully support the Government in the build up of national institutions in particular, as it was mentioned by the Foreign Secretary, the national army and the national police force that need to be built in a coordinated way and under the strategy of the Somali Government.

The international community needs also to be able - in between, before those national institutions are able to fully protect the Somali people - the international community must give strong and predictable, financial and equipment supports to AMISOM, to the Mission of the African Union, which with enormous sacrifice and enormous courage has been fighting [Al-] Shabaab, in very dramatic circumstances, but creating the conditions that allow this conference and this opportunity to take place.

AMISOM deserves a much stronger support and a much more predictable support from the international community.

And finally, it is very important for us all to be able to support the new National Development Plan of Somalia - to create the conditions for it to be possible - through all the instruments of development cooperation, including with the necessary technical mechanisms to be put in place and the guarantees of sustainability, including an effective process of debt relief.

If the international community is able to respond to the challenge, I’m sure that this opportunity will not be missed and I’m sure that Somalia will be the success story we need in our troubled world.

Question about the training of the national army and police force of Somalia.

Secretary-General: I think that what we have witnessed until now in Somalia is an effort by different countries, training different groups, in different parts of the country, with different doctrines. And that is a recipe for disaster, it’s not a recipe to form a true national army and a true national police force.

What I think is important in this conference is the recognition that there must be a coordinated effort in which training takes place, in close articulation with the strategy of the Government, and the Government plan, in order to build one army, with one doctrine, and with the links and the forms of cohesion that an army needs to have in order to be able to fight with success an insurgency or any terrorist group.

Now, that takes time, it is true. And that is why we believe it is necessary, in between, to go on supporting AMISOM. But not only with a ‘business as usual’ approach: I do believe we need to make sure that support is given in a more effective and predictable way, and to also create the conditions for AMISOM, together with the Somali forces, to be able in the near future to take the appropriate offensive actions that are necessary to reduce Al-Shabaab’s influence, namely in the south of the country.

So, the two things go together: at the same time, support AMISOM until conditions are met for AMISOM to go down and build up national institutions, army and police force, but in a coordinated and effective way, and not with different kinds of actions in different places that will not lead to the creation of the institutions the country needs.