UNITED NATIONS ( Associated Press) – The United Nations envoy for Somalia on Monday called on the country to build on the election of a new president and work on national reconciliation, improving relations between the central government and states and the growing threat from al-Shabaab. urged to face extremist group.
James Swann called last week’s conclusion of Somalia’s “unnecessarily long and contentious” election process “a major milestone for the country” and told the UN Security Council that it would be up to leaders to address those and other pressing issues. It’s time to address.
The envoy said he met with Somalia’s new President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed three days after the May 15 election to learn about his goals. He said this included carrying out constitutional review and judicial reforms, completing electoral laws, ensuring compliance with conditions for debt relief and urgent attention to the “severe drought”.
Calling it a “moment of opportunity”, Swann said the entire UN system in Somalia is ready to work with the new government to support these goals.
The election of Mohamed, who served as President of Somalia in 2012–2017, ended a long-running electoral process. Political tensions and concerns of insecurity have risen after President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s mandate expired in February 2021 without a successor.
Mohamed defeated Abdullahi Mohamed in a secret ballot by members of both houses of parliament.
No current president has ever been elected twice in a row in the Horn of Africa nation, where rival factions fight fiercely for political power. And no former Somali president had successfully returned to office until Mohamed’s election.
Only in the last few years has Somalia begun to gain its footing after three decades of chaos from fighting and violence between warlords brought on by the emergence of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab extremist group and Islamic State-linked extremist groups.
Swann called the current security situation in the country “highly unstable”, adding that al-Shabaab was fueled by domestic political tensions and staged attacks in recent months in the capital Mogadishu, the southwest state and Hirschbale.
US President Joe Biden signed an order a day after Mohamed’s election to redeploy hundreds of American troops to Somalia to counter al-Shabaab, known as the largest and wealthiest of the al-Qaeda extremist organization. considered an ally. US military leaders said the effort was hampered by President Donald Trump’s decision late in his term to withdraw troops from the country.
The African Union’s special representative, Francisco Madeira, told the council that Somalia’s new president in his election manifesto “emphasized on freeing the country from al-Shabaab,” opening up the main supply routes, and ensuring that security forces Don’t interfere. Politics.
Madeira said in a video briefing that the peaceful transfer of power creates conditions for advancing national political dialogue and deepening reconciliation. He said he was glad the new administration was already engaging regional leaders on important national issues.
With a newly elected parliament and president, Madeira said, “the doors are now open for a new chapter to be written in Somalia’s history.”
He said the Somali people have an opportunity to reconcile among themselves, end war and bring peace to the country, promote its economic development and restore Somalia to its former glory and beyond.
However, Swann warned that Somalia was facing a deteriorating humanitarian situation after the failure of the rainy season for the fourth time in a row, another major issue.
He said if food prices continue to rise and humanitarian aid falters, 6.1 million people are now affected by drought and six communities are at risk of famine.
He called for immediate contributions, saying the UN’s $1.45 billion humanitarian appeal for Somalia is only 15% funded in about half a year.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that after more than four years of political strife, reconciliation between the new government and the states is crucial to address the grave challenges. She said this included confronting al-Shabaab’s “dangerous threat”, which means “mitigating the appalling humanitarian conditions that inspire extremism.”
She also urged the new government and the international community to ensure that Somalians do not go hungry or thirsty, warning that the country could be pushed “on the brink of famine” if Russia’s war on Ukraine consumes wheat and other food. prevents access. Somalia.