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Security Council – Briefing on Somalia and Eritrea

Statement by Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council briefing concerning the situation in Somalia and Eritrea —

Madam President,

As the other colleagues I want to thank the Representative of Kazakhstan Amb. Kairat Umarov, Chair of the Somalia and Eritrea Sanctions Committee, for his briefing.

Today’s briefing takes place at a critical time for the stability of the Horn of Africa. The regional scenario is progressing, while Somalia and Eritrea remain key actors for its balance. The Security Council is called to interpret this potential, promoting those factors that can lead to peace and stability in the region. On the 15th anniversary of the decision on the border delimitation by the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission, we recall today’s declaration by the European Union on the matter.

Madam President,

From their very first statements, President Farmajo and Prime Minister Khayre have established Somalia’s political priorities. These are all relevant to the sanctions regime: national reconciliation; fighting Al-Shabaab; strengthening the capacities of the Security Forces, including the police; implementing the National Plan for Security and Strategy for Preventing Violent Extremism; improving the management of arms and ammunition; and fighting corruption.

Somalia is at a decisive crossroads on its path to reconstruction. Italy supports Somalia’s legitimate aspiration to guide the reconstruction process, shoring up its ownership, which is the cornerstone of the principle of sustaining peace endorsed by this Council last year. The Secretary-General’s review of the UN’s future presence, the joint UN-AU review of AMISOM, and the upcoming renewal of the UNSOM mandate will be important opportunities to consolidate the path in this Council.

When we take a look at the main concerns of the Federal Government of Somalia about the current sanctions regime, we realize that these are greatly triggered by external factors: Al-Shabaab threat and the related obstruction of humanitarian access to fight drought and famine-risk; the presence of Daesh; the alleged violations of the arms embargo by third States; the alleged illegal exploitation of Somali fish resources and charcoal.

On the other hand, the Monitoring Group recognizes that the Federal Government of Somalia fully cooperate in the implementation of the sanctions regime. And the Somali Regional Authorities are improving their cooperation with the Monitoring Group and AMISOM, as last January’s case in the Interim Jubba Administration showed.

The Security Council can accompany Mogadishu’s efforts to build reliable Security Forces through benchmarks that gradually alleviate the sanctions burden. Any further consistent progress the Somali leadership will make in the control and management of arms and ammunition should be taken into account, in due course, for any possible reconfiguration of the sanctions regime.

Madam President,

Turning to Eritrea, our position is equally clear. The Security Council has to make a holistic assessment of the Monitoring Group’s recent reports and periodic updates, as required by the Council’s resolutions.
Over the past three years the Monitoring Group has stated that it has not found evidence of Eritrean support for Al-Shabaab. At the same time, information indicating alleged support for other armed groups in the region is cause for concern.

In the Qatari mediated dispute between Eritrea and Djibouti over prisoners of war, we have seen conflicting claims as to the fate of the missing combatants. It is our hope that the Monitoring Group will be able to help clarify their effective status so that the Council may reach well-grounded conclusions.

Finally, pending the mid-term report and recommendations for a possible review of the sanctions regime against Eritrea, we expect the Monitoring Group’s observations to be fair, impartial, and evidence-based.
To this end, we encourage Eritrea to cooperate with the Monitoring Group to help the Security Council make unbiased decisions, on the basis of established facts.

I thank you, Madam President.