Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Somalia

Ambassador Richard Mills
U.S. Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 25, 2021


Thank you, Mr. President. And let me join others in thanking our briefers this morning for their insightful reports. And I also want to thank the Foreign Minister of Somalia for joining us this morning and sharing his update.

As we’ve stated repeatedly before this Council, Somalia’s holding of a peaceful, transparent, inclusive, and timely electoral process – agreed to on the basis of consensus – is vital if the country is going to resume progress on critical state-building reforms and stabilization efforts.

In just the last few weeks, we’ve seen the risks associated with actions that are undertaken without broad consent among critical stakeholders in Somali. As we have just heard from the Special Representative, Somalia’s stability was threatened, the country pushed to the verge of conflict, because of clashes between government forces and opposition-affiliated militia that resulted from the April 12 mandate extension bill, which was passed by the Lower House of the Somali Parliament and signed by President Farmaajo. So, we welcomed the decision by President Farmaajo – as many of you have – to rescind this deeply decisive* action – which the parliament joined in – and to resume negotiations with the Federal Member States on the basis of the September 2020 agreement.

We commend Prime Minister Roble and his efforts to organize the discussions that are underway in Mogadishu, and we welcome President Farmaajo’s announcement that the Prime Minister will oversee the implementation of elections planning, including elections security. Prime Minister Roble must be given the latitude and the authority to deliver on the elections without any interference.

So, we welcome the talks in Mogadishu, and we are encouraged by the reports we’ve heard just this morning on the status of those talks and the progress being made. What we’ve heard this morning is certainly the best international news I’ve heard over the last several days, so we hope it continues. We continue to call, however, on all the political parties participating in the talks, and all the parties, to set aside their narrow, personal, political agendas, do what is right for Somalia, and finalize an agreement that can be implemented as soon as possible. The United States remains prepared to take actions against individuals who we assess are obstructing agreement or otherwise threatening Somalia’s peace and security.

Moving forward with elections and political dialogue is essential to focusing on the pressing needs of Somalia’s people, and countering the threat posed by Al-Shabaab. As we heard, we are already seeing evidence that Al-Shabaab has taken advantage of the political turmoil in Mogadishu for its own ends, its own benefits. Addressing the threat from Al-Shabaab is an urgent problem, not just for Somalia, but for the entire sub-region, and one that is predicated on a stable political situation.

Last month, the United States announced $154 million in additional humanitarian assistance to address the life-threatening challenges that result from chronic food insecurity, violence, desert locusts, and the cycles of drought and flooding. We remain committed to the Somali people, to supporting their aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous future, and addressing their urgent humanitarian needs.

Thank you, Mr. President.