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A Day-Long Debate in the UN Security Council on the Situation in Somalia

The day-long debate in the Security Council on the situation in Somalia commenced at 10 a.m. October 19, 2001 and continued until 5 p.m. All the Members of the Council took part in the debate.

These include China, France, Singapore, Ukraine, Russian Federation, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Colombia, United States of America, Norway, Mauritius, Jamaica, Mali, Bangladesh, and Ireland. The President of the Security Council H.E. Richard Ryan from Ireland chaired the debate.

The other countries, which registered and were also allowed to speak in the Council, include Djibouti, Egypt, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Japan, Belgium on behalf of the EU, Nigeria, Yemen, Ethiopia, Syrian Arab Republic, Qatar, Iraq, and Kenya.

The Representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to the United Nations was also allowed to speak on behalf of his Organization. H.E. Dr. Ali Khalif Galaydh, the Prime Minister of Somalia gave a detailed and comprehensive report on the situation in Somalia. Some of the salient features of his intervention include:

Thanked the President of the Security Council for assuming his presidency and wished him success in his difficult and arduous tasks.

Congratulated the Secretary-General for the award of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Briefed the Security Council on the number of decisions that reflected his Government's commitment and determination to combat terrorism, including the establishment of the an anti-terrorist task force which would put together a national security and anti-terrorist action plan.

The Task force would gather intelligence and information, monitor activities of potential suspects and share information with the United Nations. The Government had also enlisted the support of the "Ulema" or religious leaders, in the fight against terrorism. It had also engaged the owners of the "Hawallas" money-transfer agencies, which had assured the Government of their commitment to transparency.

Moreover, a Joint Committee of Cabinet Members and Members of the Somali Parliament had recently been formed top review the penal code as part of the country's national obligation under Security Council resolution 1373 (2001).

For the Government to be successful against terrorists, however, the international community must provide the assistance needed. On the question of national reconciliation, the Prime Minister said the outcome of the Arat Peace Process would remain the basis for the pursuit of Somali national reconciliation.

That process would continue to be a Somali process, and the Somali Government would welcome and embrace every positive effort by neighbouring countries and the world community that could facilitate that process. The Government would engage those who were outside the Arta Process through sustained dialogue and negotiations.

The National Reconciliation Commission would operate independently of the Government, but lack of funds is hindering the beginning of the Commission's work.

The Prime Minister welcomed the Secretary-General's report, but noted with regret that the report did not recommend the establishment of the peace-building mission in Somalia. Failure to establish this mission would send a wrong signal to the international community, particularly to the regional and subregional organizations, donors and warlords.

It would further contribute to the vicious cycle of inadequate security and the perpetration of benign neglect.

The Prime Minister proposed a high-level inter-agency United Nations mission be sent to Somalia with a mandate to examine the work of the security office in Nairobi and to re-evaluate in an objective manner the security situation in Mogadishu in Mogadishu and the whole of Somalia.

He also welcomed the idea of establishing a Committee of Friends of Somalia, but said that his Government must be fully engaged in the consultations necessary for designing the framework within which the Committee would function. Members of the Committee must be supportive of peace and stability in Somalia and be willing to play a constructive role and have a genuine interest in building upon Arta and its outcome.

All the statements made by speakers contained conspicuous phrases of support of the Transitional National Government of Somalia and those which call upon the United Nations to go much further in its commitment to the solidification of unity and territorial integrity of Somalia. The despatch of the inter-agency United Nations mission to Somalia was recommended by almost all countries, which participated in the debate.

Ethiopia's Representative to the United Nations in his address said that contrary to the comments that had been made in the Council, there had been genuine efforts to establish a peace process that had preceded the Arta Process. Noting that Ethiopia had always been transparent and frank and the Transitional National Government of Somalia was not of one mind.

He accused the Somali Government of being associated with Al Qaeda. He said that he had proof that terrorist groups connected to Al-Qaeda were established in Somalia.

These baseless allegations were vehemently rejected by the Prime Minister of Somalia in the rebuttal. The Prime Minister qualified these statements as being baseless and asked the Representative of Ethiopia to produce facts.

Before the convening of the debate in the Security Council, the Representative of Libya proposed, in a meeting held by the African Group in the United Nations, that the African countries collectively request the Security Council to despatch peace-building mission to Somalia.

This proposal was seconded by all the African countries present with the exception of Ethiopia, which had strongly opposed claiming that the "the proposal is not consistent with what IGAD's resolutions stipulate" .


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