Rodney Hunter highlights stakes at UN Security Council briefing on Somalia

Rodney Hunter, a United States Political Coordinator at the United Nations in New York City on Wednesday highlighted the stakes at play on the crisis in Somalia, saying that the United States remains “deeply concerned about the slow pace of progress toward completion of Somalia’s national elections.”

“Next month will mark one year since the mandate of the federal parliament expired; and more than five months have passed since Somalia’s national and federal member state leaders agreed on a process for completing the elections. While we welcome the completion over the weekend of the selection process for the upper house, only two of the 275 members have been chosen for the lower house,” he said in remarks at the UN Security Council briefing on Somalia.

He said, “Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, SRSG Swan and Special Representative Madeira, for your briefings today. The United States also thanks the civilian and uniformed personnel of UNSOM, UNSOS, and AMISOM, as they implement your important mandates in an extremely dangerous and challenging environment. And thank you to Executive Director Siad for your message today to this Council and for the brave and the vital work that you do, and your colleagues do, every day.

“The United States is deeply concerned about the slow pace of progress toward completion of Somalia’s national elections. Next month will mark one year since the mandate of the federal parliament expired; and more than five months have passed since Somalia’s national and federal member state leaders agreed on a process for completing the elections. While we welcome the completion over the weekend of the selection process for the upper house, only two of the 275 members have been chosen for the lower house.

“We welcome Prime Minister Roble’s call for completion of the lower house elections by the end of the year and it is vital that Somalia’s leadership and political aspirants follow through with their repeated commitments to inclusive, transparent, and timely elections. This includes ensuring voting can take place in a safe and secure environment and finalizing arrangements for meeting the agreed 30 percent female representation in Parliament that has been mentioned so many times today.

“We are also concerned about the conflict in Galmudug between Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a militia and federal government forces. The violence has resulted in numerous casualties, it has displaced thousands of innocent civilians, and it has needlessly distracted from the fight against al-Shabaab terrorists. We urge both sides to refrain from further violence and to engage in negotiations to resolve the issues at the root of the conflict peacefully.

“And finally, as was highlighted by Special Representative Madeira earlier, we note that AMISOM’s mandate expires at the end of this year, but there still remains no agreement among the African Union, Somalia, and international stakeholders on a post-2021 international stabilization mission. The United States believes that a restructured AU-led mission focused on increasing pressure on al-Shabaab and transitioning security responsibility to Somali security forces is the best way forward. We urge renewed discussions amongst all stakeholders to reach an agreement and effectively advance peace and stability in Somalia.

“SRSG Swan, we again commend the work of you and your team, and the United States also urges the Somali government and stakeholders to conclude the national elections as soon as possible. This will enable renewed focus on the work that needs to be done to make a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Somalia a reality.

“Thank you, Mr. President.”

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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