Statement delivered by Undersecretary of State Hon. Vincenzo Amendola at the Security Council Open Debate on the situation in Somalia —
At the outset, I would like to renew to you our condolences to the United Kingdom, already expressed this morning by Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni to UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
Allow me to greet President Farmajo and express Italy’s congratulations for his election and for the appointment of Prime Minister Khayre and the new Government with an important presence of women.
We assure our strong commitment to supporting the Somali leadership in its efforts to stabilize the country. We are convinced that Somali ownership is key to this process. We have constantly been adhering to this principle. We have reaffirmed this position during the recent elections and we will continue to do so, as we strengthen our bilateral relations further and shore up our contribution for building a stable and prosperous Somalia as you were saying at the beginning.
Somali ownership leads me to my first point: institutional framework and security architecture. We are actively involved, along with Somalia, the UN, AU, IGAD, EU and other relevant partners, to support the empowerment of the Somali institutions. It is instrumental to this end that the Somali national and regional authorities work together to consolidate a united and federal Somalia.
As far as security is concerned, AMISOM’s exit-strategy needs to be gradual, in order to favor the Somali security forces’ entry-strategy. Besides supporting Somali ownership in the security field – via bilateral training for the Somali Police and leading the EU Training Mission in Somalia with the command and more than half of its soldiers – Italy encourages the efforts made by the UN and the AU aimed at laying out the framework for the AMISOM transition.
Second, the stabilization of the country. The presence today of President Farmajo and Minister Omer are the best evidence of what has been achieved over the past years. Somalia is a success-story, as after decades of instability and unrest, is finally heading towards peace.
But we should not lose sight of the multi-faceted challenges posed by terrorists. It is not all about security. The residual capability of Al-Shabaab and the appearance of Daesh still constitute threats that affect the daily lives of Somali people. The UN and all the partners of Somalia can do more in tackling the root causes of radicalization: poverty, lack of education, lack of job opportunities.
We hope that the ongoing review of the UN presence in the country will carefully assess this issue. We call on the international financial institutions to do their part and, jointly with the donor community, to support the Somali Government in improving the business climate.
Finally, the humanitarian crisis. We are extremely concerned by the severe impact of the drought and the risk of famine. This is a situation that requires immediate action, as the Secretary-General pointed out with his recent visit.
We are encouraged by the outcome of the High-level round table convened by President Farmajo in Mogadishu, on February 28th, and by his prompt measures to facilitate the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid. We look forward to further results within the IGAD Conference on Somali refugees of next Saturday, March 25th .
I am pleased to share with you that Foreign Minister Alfano has just personally informed Secretary-General Guterres of an additional humanitarian aid contribution by Italy that will directly support the Somali people and government as they face this critical humanitarian situation.
Let me conclude by expressing our solidarity with the people and government of Somalia for the death of over 40 Somali refugees on a boat off the Yemeni coast. Our thoughts and condolences go to the families of the victims. We are following the plight of Somali refugees with great concern.
As this last tragic event has sadly reminded us, insecurity and humanitarian challenges are interlinked. It is imperative that we find a common solution to tackle the root causes that underpin the migration phenomenon, in Somalia as elsewhere.
I thank you.