Thank you Mr. President.
Thank you for giving me the floor and for organizing this debate. I would like to join others in thanking Special Representative Augustine Mahiga for the update and for his forward looking observations of today. Let me also commend him and his team for their work and for their efforts as well as those of the African Union.
Allow me yet to acknowledge the role and contribution of IGAD and its leaders to the peace process in Somalia, and in particular that of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.
During this last year, Somalia has been the stage for major political and security developments. On the political front, August marked the completion of the Transition period, which began eight years ago. After the adoption of a new constitution, the Somali political leadership, the traditional elders and other stakeholders rose above their differences and acted in the best interest of the Somali people, in a process that led to the establishment of a new Parliament, the election of a new President and subsequently to the nomination of a new Prime Minister. On the security front, AMISOM, the Somali National Forces and regional partners continued to expand their areas of control, significantly weakening Al-Shabaab. Portugal commends the Somali stakeholders and the Somali people for their achievements and pays tribute to the sacrifices that have been made by the women and men serving under AMISOM.
The same degree of commitment, integrity and endurance we have witnessed throughout these months is now needed from the Somali authorities to respond to the demanding challenges this new chapter encompasses: to have a secure and stable country, ready for elections under universal suffrage in four years time.
We welcome the resolve and vision of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the priorities he already outlined: national reconciliation, social service delivery, economic development, justice and security improvement. These should translate into the finalization of the pending elements of the Provisional Constitution and in stabilization in general - by reforming the security sector, establishing inclusive and representative administrations throughout the country, delivering basic services to the population, stimulating business and comprehensively addressing the threat of piracy. It should further translate into good governance, rule of law, transparency and accountability, as well as respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms. At the same time, more attention should be given to the role, full participation and representation of women in the Somali peace process.
Because the tasks ahead are extremely complex and demanding, this is the moment for the international community to renew its commitment towards the Somali people and, at the same time, for a strengthened coordination among all actors in Somalia. In this regard, we look forward both to the results of the thorough joint UA/UN assessment of AMISOM, so far instrumental in creating the enabling environment for the advancement of the political process and the efforts at economic revitalization of the country, as well as the results of the Strategic Review currently being conducted by the United Nations to look at its presence in Somalia for the next four years.
However, and as the African Union has recently pointed out, as we reflect on the future of AMISOM and the important contribution it is making towards the maintenance of peace, security and reconciliation in Somalia, it is important to take into account the issue of the funding of the Mission. We thus take this opportunity to urge all parties to give due consideration to the need to improve the predictability and sustainability of AMISOM funding mechanisms.
On our part, Portugal will continue to play an active role at different levels and through various fora, contributing to the improvement of the Somali people´s everyday life, in particular through the outstanding contribution of the European Union, so far present in multiple fronts: development assistance, support for AMISOM and common security and defence policy operations such as the EU Training Mission (EUTM), EUNAVFOR Atalanta and the new maritime capacity building mission EUCAP Nestor. In this context, we naturally share the position of the European Union that will be expressed later on this debate by Ambassador Mayr-Harting.
I conclude by once again acknowledging and commending the decisive steps Somalis have taken so far towards a more representative, democratic and peaceful Somalia and by reiterating our support in helping making the long rebuilding path ahead a successful one.
I thank you.