Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Somalia

Rodney Hunter
Political Coordinator
New York, New York
February 15, 2022


Thank you, Madam President. Thank you to the briefers today for your remarks. The United States would also like to thank the civilian and uniformed personnel of UNSOM, UNSOS, and AMISOM, as they implement their important mandates in an extremely dangerous and challenging environment.

The United States reiterates our deep concern about political and security developments in Somalia. While we acknowledge significant progress since the January 3-9 National Consultative Council meeting in selecting members of the House of the People, at the current pace Somalia will miss yet another deadline for completing parliamentary elections. We have also seen additional deployments of Somali national security forces to polling locations, which have raised new concerns about efforts to use the threat of force to influence voting. Security forces should have no role in determining the outcome of elections.

The rapid conclusion of elections that are credible, further laying the groundwork for responsive governance, is a key element to achieve sustainable peace in Somalia, along with enhanced security and inclusive economic growth. We call on Somalia’s National and Federal Member State leaders to follow through with their own commitments to complete the parliamentary elections in a credible and transparent manner by February 25.

Turning to AMISOM, we note that the three-month technical rollover of the mandate expires on March 31, and we urge all parties to meet the deadlines set in January for completing the work necessary for a new mandate with a reconfigured force. With the very tight timeline, the key stakeholders must have opportunities for review and input as early as possible.

The United States recognizes and honors the sacrifices made by AMISOM troops, and it is vital to adapt the mission to the evolving al-Shabaab threat and agree on a concrete plan for a phased transition of security responsibilities to Somali security forces. A reconfigured AU-led mission focused on increasing pressure on al-Shabaab and transitioning security responsibility to Somali security forces is vital.  We urge all stakeholders to reach consensus on an approach that can effectively advance peace and stability in Somalia and gain the requisite support from this Council.

The United States recognizes the Council’s authorizations with respect to counter-piracy measures off the coast of Somalia that expire on March 3. We hope that a new resolution can be adopted in a spirit of consensus.

Finally, the United States would like to express our concern for the unfolding drought in the Horn, which the World Food Program on February 8 called the worst in that region since 1981. We must act with urgency to save lives. We understand 4.6 million Somalis, according to OCHA, will face crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity – IPC levels 3 or 4 – in the coming months. The International Organization for Migration predicts between one and 1.4 million people in Somalia may be displaced by drought in the coming six months.

SRSG Swan, we commend the work of you and your team and urge the Somali government and stakeholders to conclude the national elections as soon as possible.  This would enable renewed focus on the work that needs to be done to make a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Somalia a reality.

Thank you, Madam President.