Let me first express Norway’s sympathies to the bereaved, and those harmed in recent attacks by Al Shabaab- including at the Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu. Among the casualties were two Norwegian-Somali nationals.
Political stability and unity are the keys to progress. For economic recovery, for development, to reform the security sector, and counter Al Shabaab. Therefore, we support President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s ambitions to improve relations between the Federal Government and Federal Member States. Also to prioritise constitutional reform and national reconciliation.
Completing the National Security Architecture is of the utmost priority. And, relevant, clear, and realistic benchmarks for the Somalia Transition Plan and the AU Transition Mission must be supported by close cooperation between all levels of government. As well as consensus in the National Security Council and National Consultative Council.
The AU Transition Mission in Somalia, together with the Somali Security Forces, have the potential to achieve a more effective response to Al Shabaab – one with a strong emphasis on protecting civilians, including children.
The three pillars of the Transition Plan are mutually reinforcing. But progress on stabilisation efforts under Pillar 3 is particularly needed. And to be successful, implementation must be coordinated by authorities at federal, state and district levels, and aligned with realities on the ground. With justice and security delivered by accountable local authorities.
The provision of essential services- including water, basic health care, education, and justice- is also crucial and must be rights-based. This builds local resilience, prevents recruitment of children, strengthens government legitimacy, and counteracts violent extremist ideology- including in newly liberated areas.
Efforts towards countering Al Shabaab must rest on a broader political and development strategy. We therefore advocate for a reinvigorated, policy-level dialogue, on stabilisation and reconciliation. Including the full implementation of the National Reconciliation Framework.
We welcome the attention of the National Consultative Council to dialogue between the Federal Government of Somalia and Somaliland. While sensitive and difficult, only dialogue and trust-building can bring the parties closer to mutually acceptable solutions.
In the recent federal elections, the percentage of women in Parliament regrettably decreased compared to the 2016 elections. Nevertheless, it is important that all newly elected women MPs are provided sufficient support and security. We encourage UNSOM, UNDP and UN Women to continue to cooperate with key Somali partners in this regard. The meaningful and equal participation of women in government is essential for progress in Somalia.
USG Martin Griffith’s recent warning of a likely famine should serve as reminder of the gravity of the humanitarian situation and the continued need for action. Tackling the devastating drought and imminent risk of famine must remain a top priority for the government and all international partners. And Norway stands ready to do our part. The worst outcomes must be averted.
All stakeholders and all parties to the conflict must allow- and facilitate- full, safe, and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance. At the same time, more sustainable solutions to recurring emergencies must also be found.