Thank you Mr. President,
Let me thank the Secretary-General for his report and Special Representative Augustine Mahiga for his very helpful briefing and to commend him and his team for their work and efforts.
Allow me also to welcome the presence of His Excellency Prime Minister Doctor Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, and thank him for his presentation, as I thank Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia Diarra for his contribution to today’s debate.
There have been some encouraging progress. Within the framework of the Kampala Accord, the Parliament has endorsed the new Prime Minister and a new Cabinet has been appointed. The Mogadishu consultative meeting also took place and met its main objective, the endorsement of the roadmap.
But despite these important steps, there are still significant challenges ahead, as Ambassador Mahiga outlined. It is, therefore, essential that the Somali institutions build on the progress achieved so far and on the existing consensus. Throughout the remaining transition period, the Kampala Accord has to be implemented, as well as the Roadmap, in compliance with the agreed benchmarks and timelines. We call on the signatories of the Kampala Accord to ensure cohesion, unity and focus on the completion of the four priority tasks set out in the Roadmap for ending the transition: security, constitution, reconciliation and good governance so that the transitional period may, indeed, come to an end in August of next year. As Portugal has stated before, of paramount importance is also to ensure the respect for human rights and to pave the way for a better future for Somalis including for their economic and social development. We underline in this respect the very positive role that women can play in conflict resolution and we encourage all parties in Somalia to remove obstacles and challenges to the participation of Somali women in public life.
In this endeavor, it is of the utmost importance that regional and international partners continue committed and continue to lend support to the Somali people and helping it to address all the challenges Somalia faces, the most recent one at the humanitarian level.
We remain deeply concerned by the catastrophic situation and we are particularly distressed by the terrible impact on the lives of the Somali population and especially on children who have been severely affected by famine. We are, nevertheless, encouraged by the efforts on the ground being made by all the agencies, funds, regional and local NGOs and humanitarian partners, against a background of very challenging security conditions. We are also encouraged by the mobilization of the international community so far and we welcome the holding of a Summit on the Humanitarian Response to the Horn of Africa on the margins of the High Level General Debate of the 66th General Assembly. But these combined efforts will only be fruitful if the aid reaches those in real need. We therefore urge all parties and armed groups to ensure full, safe and unhindered access for the timely delivery of humanitarian aid to all persons in need of assistance across Somalia.
At the security level, the recent improvements in Mogadishu should also be capitalized by the Transitional Federal Institutions, by ensuring the delivery of basic services and providing good governance to all of its citizens. By doing so, the efforts and sacrifices of AMISOM and of the Somalia Security Forces, which we commend, will also be honored.
As the context on the ground is changing, new challenges arise for the Mission and for the Transitional Federal Government. In order to respond to the immediate needs, we encourage the strengthening of the Somali Security Forces as the Government bears the primary responsibility for safeguarding peace and security in Somalia. This is an endeavor to which we are glad to continue contributing, namely through the EU’s training mission in Somalia.
Nevertheless, AMISOM remains a crucial element to support and protect the Transitional Federal Institutions. We therefore reiterate our support to the Mission, endorsing its mandate renewal, and echo the Secretary-General’s call for the acceleration of the deployment of additional troops to fill the security vacuum created by the withdrawal of Al-Shabaab from Mogadishu. We will also consider favorably expanding the scope of its support package as well as the development of a guard force to provide security to personnel from the international community.
But new challenges also rise to the UN. In this regard, we welcome the efforts being made to fulfill the Secretary General’s commitment to full structural integration of the UN family in the country in the shortest possible time.
Albeit the recent developments, the overall situation in Somalia remains fragile. It is therefore important to comprehensively address all the challenges Somalia faces, at political, security, humanitarian, human rights and socio-economic development levels. This also means pursuing our joint efforts to combat piracy, through a multidimensional response to the problem.
In strong commitment, engagement and close cooperation of all Somali parties lies the main ground for a successful path towards peace and stability in Somalia. Portugal will continue her efforts, within the different fora, to assist the Somali people in addressing the challenges before them.
Before concluding, let me again extend a word of sincere appreciation to the continuous engagement of the Secretary General’s Special Representative, Mr. Mahiga, the African Union, IGAD and other regional organizations, in the Somali process. In this context, we naturally share the position of the European Union that will be expressed later.
I thank you.