UN Security Council members conclude visit to Somalia, urge swift approval of 2016 electoral model

Members of the United Nations Security Council pose for a group photograph during a visit to Mogadishu, Somalia, on 19 May, 2016.

19 May 2016

UN Security Council members conclude visit to Somalia, urge swift approval of 2016 electoral model

United Nations Security Council members on Thursday concluded a one-day visit to Somalia with a plea to the Federal Government to secure parliamentary approval of the country’s 2016 electoral model as soon as possible.

Representatives of the 15-member Security Council held a series of high-level meetings with the Federal President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, regional presidents, civil society members, humanitarian organizations and senior United Nations and African Union officials.

The visit by the Security Council, jointly led by Egypt and the United Kingdom, included representatives from Angola, China, France, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.

“We all are very grateful that you are here as the people of Somalia, that shows the level of commitment you have for Somalia,” said President Mohamud in his welcoming remarks to the United Nations Security Council representatives.

Briefing journalists at the conclusion of the visit, the leaders of the Security Council delegation reaffirmed the international community’s solidarity with the people and government of Somalia.  They also urged government leaders to push for swift approval of the electoral model, which is scheduled to elect members of the upper and lower houses of the country’s next federal parliament in July and August of this year, respectively.

Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, Egypt’s Permanent Representative to the UN Security Council, called on President Hassan Sheikh to utilise all available constitutional tools to make elections possible.

“We will provide our support to the government and the message is clear that we are here to help,” said Mr. Aboulatta. ”But also it was a message that we need to move forward.”

The United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the UN Security Council Matthew Rycroft said his country places a high priority on developments in Somalia and reaffirmed the UN Security Council’s commitment to help ensure peace and stability in Somalia.

“We had very good discussions about the political process and the need for elections to take place on the timetable already agreed by the leaders, which means elections in August of 2016,” said Mr. Rycroft. “We were glad to talk in detail to the President, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the presidents of the regions about what is needed in order to be ready for that date,” Rycroft said.

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia Michael Keating said the visit of the Security Council was an expression of solidarity with the people and government of Somalia from the international community.

“The message that they have shared is that Somalia’s security in its broadest sense is a common concern of the international community and the whole region. That is why such importance has been placed by the Security Council in a legitimate transfer of power later this year,” concluded Mr. Keating.

A separate meeting with civil society representatives moderated by SRSG Keating addressed the issue of women’s representation in positions of leadership.

“We want full assurance that the international community and the UN will use their good offices to exert diplomatic pressure on our leaders, including the traditional leaders, to make gender parity and political representation a reality,” said Deqe Yasin, a Somali woman activist. 

“We count on you and shall also hold you accountable,” she added.