Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in Somalia (via VTC)

Ambassador Richard Mills
Acting Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
February 22, 2021


Thank you, Madam President. And thank you, Special Representative Swan, for your summary of the latest developments in Somalia. The United States also greatly appreciates the comments and the analysis from the other briefers this morning.

As many of the speakers before me have said, we meet here today at a critical time for Somalia, as the country both approaches an imminent political transition that will determine the country’s leadership for the next four years, and as the country prepares for a security transition that will begin to take shape starting next year.

Our remarks on Somalia over the past several months in this Council have focused on the need for Somalia’s leadership to seize the opportunity before them and make concerted efforts to advance peace and security for Somalia’s people.

This is now clearly most urgent and most apparent with respect to the lack of an agreed way forward on national elections.

Uncertainty over the elections has stymied the national dialogue on critical political, economic, and security reforms. The eruption of political violence on the streets of Mogadishu last week is the latest indication that, if not resolved soon, Somalia risks regressing deeper into instability.

The United States firmly opposes the use of violence by any party. We call on President Farmaajo and Somalia’s Federal Member State leaders to act swiftly to resolve the political impasse that threatens Somalia’s future and to find agreement to allow the conduct of parliamentary and presidential elections immediately.

The February 16 Technical Committee recommendations provide a clear framework for resolving the impasse. We urge all political leaders to endorse the recommendations and begin implementation as a matter of urgency.

Let me be clear, partial, parallel, or alternative election processes, including prolonged interim governing arrangements, would only further increase prospects for instability and be a major setback for Somalia.

A timely and peaceful political transition, and renewed commitment between the Federal Government and Federal Member States to work together, are needed for Somalia to adequately address the many tasks it faces.

Fighting al-Shabaab remains an urgent priority, as we have heard. Later this week, this Council will consider again extending the mandate of the AMISOM mission, which has been vital to the progress Somalia has achieved over the past decade.

But lasting stability requires Somali forces capable of providing for their own security. We welcome the updated Somalia Transition Plan and see it as a step towards the transfer of security responsibilities from AMISOM. It will be imperative that the Federal Government devote the political and financial resources necessary for its successful implementation.

In addition to developing security forces that can take the fight to terrorists, more must be done to cut off the resources these groups use to fund their deadly attacks. We look forward to continuing to support Somali authorities’ efforts to expand their own counterterrorist financing authorities and capabilities.

The United States remains focused on limiting the ability of al-Shabaab to conduct attacks against civilians and is committed to partnering with Member States to utilize the 751 Somalia sanctions regime to its fullest extent.

To this end, we are proud to note that today we joined with the Federal Government of Somalia in co-nominating three senior al-Shabaab leaders, Abukar Ali Adan, Maalim Ayman, and Mahad Karate, to the 751 Somalia Sanctions list. These designations demonstrate that the international community will hold accountable those who undermine Somalia’s peace, security, and stability. We welcome co-sponsorships, which would serve as an expression of the Security Council’s unity in condemning al-Shabaab and its violence.

Consistent and united support from Somalia’s neighbors and other international partners for reform and stabilization remains imperative. It is incumbent on all of us, Madam President, to remain focused on Somalia’s stabilization and to avoid the pursuit of narrow interests that work counter to this long-term strategic goal.

Thank you very much.