November 19th, 2007 10:45 EST
Concerned at conditions in Somalia, Security Council urges end to violence
Security Council members today voiced concern about worsening conditions in Somalia, urging all concerned to work for peace while stressing the need to lay contingency plans for a possible United Nations peacekeeping presence in the country, which has lacked a functioning government since 1991.
Speaking to reporters following a closed-door briefing, Ambassador Marty M. Natalegawa of Indonesia, which holds the rotating Council presidency, said the members “expressed strong concern about the deteriorating political, security and humanitarian situation in Somalia.”
He said the members also “underlined the need to continue to actively develop contingency plans for the possible deployment of a UN peacekeeping force as part of enhanced UN integrated strategy in Somalia.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his latest report on Somalia, issued last week, cautioned that deploying a UN peacekeeping operation is not realistic or viable given the country’s security situation, the intensifying insurgency and the lack of progress towards any political reconciliation.
He also noted that conditions are so dire that it has not even been possible to send a technical assessment mission to the country.
“Given the complex security situation in Somalia, it may be advisable to look at additional security options, including the deployment of a robust multinational force or coalition of the willing,” the report suggested.
The Council members today called for all Somali stakeholders “to renounce violence and to engage in an all-inclusive peace process,” the President said, expressing support for the efforts of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah to promote dialogue, consultation and reconciliation, and for the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) and the African Union Mission (AMISOM) deployed in the country.
Council members “recognized the need for greater financial, logistical and technical support” for AMISOM, he added.
They also “underlined the need for enhanced international assistance to address the humanitarian situation in Somalia.”
Responding to questions from the press, the President said contingency planning involves not only a possible UN peacekeeping force but a UN response to the humanitarian and the political situation in Somalia.
He added that Council members were considering an expert-level consultation with UN political, peacekeeping and humanitarian officials.
“There is a clear recognition that this an issue that requires continued attention,” he said. “We’ll take this one step at a time, mindful of the urgency of the situation.”
Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed the safe arrival of the two ships carrying WFP cargo, the first two ships to be escorted by a French naval vessel assigned to protect them from pirate attacks.
The French ship and the two WFP-contracted vessels left the Kenyan port of Mombasa on Friday, carrying more than 3600 tons of food, and arrived in Somalia today.
Thanking the French Government and Navy for their assistance, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said the operation comes at a critical time for the Somali people, who have been afflicted by drought as well as ongoing conflict.
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