The UN Security Council expressed worry over the ongoing risks posed by Al Shabab terrorists as it unanimously voted on Monday to prolong the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) for an additional year.
“The Council requested UNSOM to maintain and strengthen its presence across Somalia and to continue to cooperate with that country and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).”
The Council also denounced any abuse or obstruction of humanitarian aid through the resolution, and it demanded that all parties permit and facilitate full, safe, quick, and unfettered access for the timely delivery of aid to those in need throughout Somalia.
The UK, the penholder on Somalia, circulated a first draft of the text on 24 October and convened one round of negotiations on 26 October.
Somalia’s UN envoy, Abukar Dahir Osman, stated that the UN’s goal should be to safeguard the country’s territorial integrity.
“It’s essential to create an environment capable of advancing the government’s efforts to achieve the country’s political stability, security and sustainable development,” Mr. Osman said.
The transition from the special political mission to the country team is not clearly defined, he added, despite the fact that the UNSOM strategy review has been completed. As a result, UNSOM needs to have a better understandin of Somalia’s vision for an exit strategy.
Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the Senior Advisor for Security Council Affairs, said the mandate renewal was integral for Somalia to achieve its short-term goals.
“This is a crucial time for Somalia, and we believe this mandate will further UNSOM’s efforts to support the Somali Federal Government as it addresses serious challenges, including responding to an unprecedented drought, reconciliation among the National Government and Federal Member States, completing the review of the Federal Constitution, and achieving debt relief.”
Resolution 2657 was adopted by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with one abstention, China.
Dai Bing, the charge d’affaires at the Chinese Permanent Mission to the United Nations, said China supports the extension of UNSOM’s mandate. However, he pointed out that there is still a need for improvement in areas like child protection, humanitarian access, and civilian protection.
China and Russia have raised concerns about the language on climate change and humanitarian issues during the draft resolution’s negotiation process.
UNSOM was created in June 2013 by the Security Council to support state-building in Somalia. It was last renewed in late May.
The Security Council condemned the terror attack on Saturday, which claimed over 120 lives in Mogadishu.