Thank you Mr. President
I would like to thank Special Representative Augustine Mahiga for his very helpful briefing and analysis. Let me also thank H. E. President Sharif Ahmed for his presence and his statement.
Portugal welcomes the progress made so far in the implementation of the Kampala Roadmap. We are, however, concerned about delays in implementing some of its key tasks as well as with the negative impact of long lasting impasse in the Transitional Federal Parliament. With only three months to go to the end of the political transition in Somalia, we must reiterate that it is up to the Somali leadership to seize this opportunity and to implement their commitments to ensure that the 20 August deadline is met.
It is crucial that the Somali authorities put into action the Garowe Principles, which provide a solid basis for the way forward, by establishing new institutions and adopting a new Constitution by a representative Constituent Assembly in full transparency. The Constitution, subject to a national referendum in due course, must be underpinned by the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights of women and the rights of persons belonging to minorities, and create a framework for all Somalis to take part in public life. At the same time, it is essential to guarantee the accessibility and deliverance of basic services to the population; support sustainable peace and development; build effective government and re-establish an independent judiciary.
While the international community’s will and determination in continuing to support the Somali people is clear, as showed by the continuous hard work of Special Representative of the Secretary General, Augustine Mahiga, whose efforts I wish to commend, and by the upcoming Istanbul Conference on 31 May-1 June and the International Contact Group meeting in Rome on 2-3 July, responsibility for the delivery of a political solution lies with Somalis themselves. Portugal echoes the Secretary General’s view that appropriate action should be taken against those who are judged to be blocking or spoiling progress.
Portugal recognizes and commends the crucial role of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in bringing security to the country. The adoption of Resolution 2036 and the significant strengthening of AMISOM it authorized are a clear expression of the political importance and appropriateness of the continued and significant support to allow the Mission to fulfil its mandate. Through the United Nations and the European Union, Portugal will continue its support to AMISOM.
In this regard, allow me Mr. President, to call on the new Troop Contributing Countries to fully integrate their forces into the AMISOM command and control structure, in line with the above mentioned Resolution. Allow me as well to call upon other donors to contribute to sustainable funding for AMISOM and to provide force enablers that will allow the Mission to operate effectively.
Furthermore, I would like to acknowledge the efforts so far made by all partners involved in military action in Somalia to minimize the negative impact of military intervention on Somali civilians, to protect their human rights, and to encourage them to continue to do so.
Somali’s authorities’ unbroken commitment regarding effective governance and security is essential to consolidate AMISOM’s military gains on the ground and to ensure the governance of territories previously under Al-Shabaab rule. We take this opportunity to call upon the Transitional Federal Institutions to fully embrace the leadership of this process. Through the European Union Training Mission (EUTM Somalia), to which Portugal will provide 16 military (in 2012), we will continue to support the development of the Somali National Security Forces, and we encourage other donors to join this process.
Likewise, we recall the importance of continued support and humanitarian assistance to Somalia. We are worried about the impoverishment of the population due to the prevailing conflict and the persistent drought and the implications of this situation in the growing numbers of refugees in the region. As the Secretary-General underlined in his report, the humanitarian situation continues to be fragile and the progresses made reversible. Portugal urges all parties to ensure full and unhindered access for humanitarian aid across the country so that vulnerable people can be reached.
As the security and political situation registers progress, the achievements made so far in Somalia will only be sustainable if all the stakeholders continue to pursue a multifaceted response to the country’s underlying causes of instability, including by building stability at local level and stepping up the action to tackle the threats posed by piracy and terrorism. Portugal has always argued that piracy is a problem of organized crime with onshore roots in Somalia. Its causes are related to the conflict that ravages Somalia for over two decades and the severe impoverishment of the population, particularly coastal communities. We are particularly worried about the expansion of piracy attacks throughout the Indian Ocean, reaching as far south as the Coast of Mozambique, and eastwards, approaching the Indian shore.
In concluding, let me underline that time is of essence. As the Secretary-General clearly said, albeit the challenges, there is real opportunity to move the country to a new phase in the political progress. For that to happen, Somali leaders must unite in the commitment to ending the transition in August.
I thank you.