Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
October 19, 2023
Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, SRSG Laing and AU Commision Chair’s Special Representative Mohammed El-Amine Souef for your briefings. I also welcome the Permanent Representative of Somalia to this meeting.
Madam SRSG, we commend the leadership of your team. And look forward to renewing the UNSOM mandate this month.
Colleagues, the United States is encouraged by the Federal Government of Somalia and the African Union’s ongoing efforts to advance peace and stability in Somalia and East Africa by addressing the threat from al-Shabaab. We welcome the progress made by Somali forces in freeing communities from al-Shabaab control in the Hiraan region and encourage increased efforts to stabilize these liberated areas, with a particular focus on strengthening local governance.
We also congratulate the federal government and those federal member states that have agreed on key federal reforms including a national security architecture and a national justice sector framework.
The United States is concerned, however, about recent security setbacks in the Galmadug region, which have highlighted continuing capacity limitations and command and control challenges among Somali security forces. These developments demonstrate the urgency of finalizing a security transition plan with feasible and resource-informed objectives, timelines, and support requirements.
Colleagues, the United States remains committed to supporting the efforts of Somalia and the AU to build up Somalia’s security sector capacity and stabilization efforts. We recognize the process requires improved international coordination and will be working with partners to adjust our approach to achieve these goals.
I’ll also note that we are concerned about the potential for additional violence in and around Lascanood. And we urge all sides to agree to an immediate and unconditional ceasefire and to resolve their disputes peacefully through dialogue. Additionally, we call for greater commitment to monitoring human rights abuses and violations in and beyond Lascanood.
On the humanitarian front, we must all come together to address the dire impacts of Somalia’s severe drought. The United States remains committed to helping Somalia address this crisis, including through the provision of more than $750 million in humanitarian assistance this year. We are proud to be the largest humanitarian donor to Somalia.
Earlier this year, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield traveled to Mogadishu to review the humanitarian and security situation. While there, she called on the international community to stamp out hunger and famine. Once and for all. We followed up by co-hosting a High-Level pledging event in May to keep this crisis on the agenda and ensure we are galvanizing all partners to act. That event raised $2.4 billion.
Colleagues, the United States strongly supports the Somali people, and remains committed to helping advance democracy, peace, and stability. And we will continue to work with Somalia and international partners to build a brighter future for the Somali people.
Thank you, Mr. President.