At UN Security Council meeting, US calls for meeting of Somali political leaders

The US has called on the Federal Government of Somalia to convene a national security meeting bringing together Somali political leaders at national and regional levels.

Ambassador Cherith Norman Chalet, Acting Deputy Permanent Representative, U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said the fact leaders of the federal government and regional states have not been meeting to discuss the country’s security and political situation was concerning.

The ambassador was addressing a UN Security Council Meeting on the situation in Somalia, held in New York, USA, on 21 May.

“We regret that the Federal Government of Somalia and federal member state leaders still have not met at the leadership level to discuss national priorities and reforms, despite repeated calls from this Council. We urge President Farmaajo to call a meeting of the National Security Council, as required by the Constitution, as soon as possible to discuss elections planning, security cooperation, and other urgent national priorities,” said ambassador Chalet.

He also expressed concern about the deployment of the Somali National Army in Gedo Region to serve political interests.

“We also remain concerned that security resources needed to fight Al-Shabaab are being misused for political rivalries in certain regions,” the ambassador added.

On the upcoming national elections in the country, the US ambassador noted that while progress has been made, the government was falling behind in terms of readiness.

“We welcome Somalia’s continued commitment to holding elections on schedule beginning later this year, but we are concerned that planning and implementation is falling far behind schedule.”

Ambassador Francisco Madeira, Special Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson for Somalia (SRCC), who also addressed the virtual meeting, praised recent gains by joint Somali and African Union peacekeeping forces against militant group Al-Shabaab.

“The recovery of Janale represents a serious blow to the Al-Shabaab, as the town was a strategic stronghold for the group’s operations in Lower Shabelle and Mogadishu,” said the ambassador who also noted other gains against the militant group and called for more international support to Somalia security transition plan.

Remarks by UN envoy to Somalia at the meeting, meanwhile, focused on the country’s struggle against coronavirus, whose impact the ambassador said was being felt “acutely”. The ambassador is also said Somalia was facing its worst locust infestation in 25 years and further spoke of the floods have displaced hundreds of thousands.