AU High Representative for Somalia meets with EU Representatives

Mareeg.com At a meeting with EU represenatives in Nairobi H. E. Jerry John Rawlings, former President of Ghana and AU High Representative for Somalia made the following statement:

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me from the outset to reiterate our appreciation for the support extended by the European Union (EU) to the African Union (AU) in the area of peace and security. This support has enabled us to strengthen our institutional capacity, through the operationalization of the key components of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). We were also able to launch a number of initiatives for the promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent, including peace support operations. I have no doubt that, in the coming years, we will make further progress in the implementation of our Peace and Security Partnership, building, on the outcome of the 3Africa-EU Summit held in Tripoli, last November.

As you are aware on October 8, 2010, I was appointed as the AU High Representative for Somalia to further the peace process and to mobilize the continent and the rest of the international community to fully assume its responsibilities and contribute more actively to the quest for peace, security and reconciliation in Somalia. At the last IGAD summit, I was also asked to raise awareness and mobilize resources for the current Humanitarian crisis.

The prevailing political developments, the challenging security situation and deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the country, in spite of our collective and courageous actions, requires that we further intensify our efforts in Somalia.

As you are aware the Transition Federal Government forces and AMISOM troops have been expanding their areas of influence in Mogadishu but our forces are facing numerous challenges:

The first is on the political side, where the International Community does not speak with one voice when dealing with the Somali partners, especially on issues relating to the end of the Transition. A military strategy cannot succeed if it is not backed by a strong political strategy. We will support the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for Somalia; Ambassador Augustine Mahiga in his efforts to create a common strategy for Somalia’s partners.

Secondly, as TFG and AMISOM forces expand their area of control we will need more troops and it is imperative that the issue of Contingent Owned Equipment (COE) is addressed to encourage more countries to contribute forces. Additional forces will allow AMISOM to operate more efficiently in the capital Mogadishu, but also in other parts of the country.

AMISOM forces also need a level II hospital to cope not only with the medical needs of its forces but also to treat more Somali civilians including wounded insurgents. This is important to us because it’s our moral obligation.

Thirdly, the United Nations Humanitarian organizations and other aid agencies are not doing enough to provide assistance in the areas secured by the TFG and AMISOM forces in Mogadishu. There is an urgent need for Quick Impact Projects in the liberated areas so that the populations in those districts can start enjoying the dividends of peace. A Trust Fund to support these projects would help to address more rapidly and efficiently the needs on the ground.

Finally, we must ensure the sustainability of friendly forces such as Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama (ASWJ) currently doing well in the Central Regions and in Gedo and to urgently set up a programme for those who may want to stop fighting and return home. Local administrations doing well to build governance institution and peace must also be rewarded.

Even as we mobilize resources for AMISOM to tackle the rebels and mercenary elements who are fighting with more sophisticated weaponry and creating an atmosphere of insecurity and fear it has to be said that we are not in this business to fight a war but to seek and enforce peace. I will therefore continue to do everything within my power to offer overtures to the factions in Somalia for talks towards lasting peace.

In the coming days, we will move to mobilize resources for the Somali Government and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) from our partners across the world including the EU Member States. We will also seek new friends who can assist us and seek innovative financing to support our efforts to restore stability in the brotherly country.

The conflict in Somalia has taken a life of its own and is constantly mutating. It requires new innovative approaches banking on what has already been achieved.

We have had numerous exchanges with several partners and experts on Somalia and my initial impression is that there is a strong need to get closer to the local realities on the ground. Academic papers will not tell us the real stories of the millions of Somalis suffering or facilitate our daily engagement with our Somalis partners on how to move the peace process forward. We need to be on the ground with AMISOM forces if the conditions allow it to facilitate political dialogue among Somalis and to deliver the much needed humanitarian assistance.

We need to reconnect with the grassroots and not to leave out our brothers, cousins and nephews who have found themselves also engaged in this senseless civil war.

That is why we are planning to travel to Somalia in the near future and to spend time with our Somali brothers and sisters to further diagnose the problem and attempt to assist in any way possible to resolve the conflict. We will also work closely with AMISOM to ensure that its Civilian Component currently in the process of relocating to Mogadishu hastens its deployment to the Mission area to engage on a regular basis the Somali population.

Excellencies,

Let me say a few words about the current political situation and the debate about the end of the Transition. Much as the three year period is considered by all to be a little too long the task that needs to be accomplished could very well be achieved much earlier and we are hoping that by the end of the first year significant inroads would have been made to conclude the constitutional review process.

Very serious concerns have also been expressed about the President’s unilateral decision to remove the three security chiefs in the heat of combat. We would have expected broader consultations before such a critical decision was made. We call on the Parliamentarians and the Elders to play their role and for the President to consult broadly on future nominees.

In conclusion, I would like to appeal to our brothers on the other side to restrain the use of arms to intimidate, terrorize the citizenry of their own country and to return to the age old use of dialogue as means to iron out our grievances. The growing donor fatigue and irritation is not lost on us. We will do everything possible to recoup on lost time. I thank you.

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