I join colleagues around the table in expressing appreciation to the Presidency for convening this timely and important meeting. I also thank SRSG Keating and Ambassador Tete Antonio, Permanent Observer of the African Union for the insightful briefings on the latest developments in Somalia.
2. My delegation acknowledges and welcomes the presence of His Excellency Mr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud - President of Somalia in the chamber this morning. President Mohamud’s presence today is a testament of his deep and abiding commitment to return Somalia to normalcy and restore hope for a better future for Somalia’s people who had suffered far too long from conflict and deprivation.
3. Under President Mohamud’s leadership, it is commendable to note the steadily improving situation in Somalia since 2012. It is hoped that the Federal Government and the federal state governments in Somalia stay the course for more significant progress on the political, social and economic fronts, particularly in the crucial weeks and months ahead.
4. 2016 is a year of particular significance for Somalia. After more than two decades of brutal conflict and prolonged erosion of fundamental democratic norms and practices, the country will undertake a major and crucial step later this year in making greater headway and progress towards re-establishing itself as a functioning state.
5. For the right enablers to be created to drive this transformation, the Council and the international community must continue to remain actively engage in Somalia, particularly in supporting the federal and regional authorities in their efforts to restore peace and security as well as in bringing the much needed socio-economic development and progress to the people.
6. On the political front, Malaysia welcomes the strong regional support and engagement with Somalia particularly by the African Union and IGAD. We commend ongoing efforts by the FGS and the federal regional states in seeking consensus on the electoral model. IGAD’s facilitation had led to recent announcement by Puntland authorities to assent to the “4.5” model for the 2016 transition process last April 3rd.
7. The successful conclusion and outcomes of the third National Leadership Forum earlier this month and the positive momentum created should be seized by stakeholders in the Hiran and Middle Shabelle regions to put aside their differences and work constructively with the FGS in order to establish a sustainable regional authority, ahead of the scheduled electoral process.
8. Although elections based on “one-person, one-vote” will not be possible this year, the inclusive process leading to agreement on key principles of the electoral process as contained in the Mogadishu Declaration should pave the way for more representative elections in 2020.
9. In the same vein, the FGS and the regional authorities should be encouraged to expedite work in constituting the Upper Chamber of the legislature and to ensure that women’s voices will be adequately represented, particularly through their inclusion as candidates for the upcoming elections.
10. On the development front, Malaysia welcomes and supports the outcomes of HLPF [High Level Partnership Forum] for Somalia held in Istanbul last February and commends the commitment of FGS to implement the outcomes. Additionally, the recently concluded 13th Extraordinary OIC Summit held in Istanbul last week also welcomed the transformation of the OIC Humanitarian Coordination Office in Somalia into a development office, reflecting the positive developments on the ground since 2011 when the OIC office was first established.
11. While noting the significant progress made by Somalia in pursuing its developmental goals, the humanitarian situation in the country continues to be concerning. These include chronic food insecurity, malnutrition, poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene, displacement as well as the cyclical violence attributed chiefly to armed violence including by terrorist groups and clan based conflicts. Compounding this is the ongoing El-Nino phenomenon. All these threaten to exacerbate the already precarious situation.
12. All international and regional actors and donors should step in to provide assistance to the 5 million Somalis in dire need. These include around 300,000 children. Unimpeded access of humanitarian assistance must be secured from all stakeholders in the country.
13. On the security front, Malaysia joins other Council members in welcoming ongoing efforts aimed at strengthening Somali security sector and institutions, including the recently held AMISOM TCC/PCC Summit in Djibouti and the UN-AU Joint Task Force Consultative Meetings held in late February and in late March, respectively.
14. Malaysia fully supports the early rollout and implementation of stabilising efforts in areas newly liberated from Al-Shabab including through quick impact projects. Such initiatives will help to promote local economies and form an important component of the FGS overall efforts to win the hearts and minds of local communities.
15. In line with commitments made at the AMISOM TCC/PCC Djibouti Summit, all concerned parties should strengthen command and control for better coordination, particularly with a view to degrade and eradicate the threat posed by Al-Shabaab.
16. At a time when political tensions appear to be increasing and against the background of increasing intensity and frequency of complex attacks and operations by Al-Shabab particularly against civilians and civilian targets, the 20 percent reduction of AMISOM troop allowances raises some concern. In this regard, we welcome the UN-AU Joint Task Force agreement to address the funding issue.
17. In concluding Mr. President, I take this opportunity to pay tribute to the tireless dedication and sacrifices made by all security sector actors in Somalia, particularly the men and women of the SNSF, AMISOM and UNSOS. In this regard, Malaysia reaffirms its support for AMISOM, UNSOS and the FGS collective efforts to pave the way for Somalia to secure its place in the community of nations - a Somalia that is secure, stable and engage in pursuit of national development for a better future.