Draft communique high level meeting on Somalia, New York 28 Sept 2015

Today’s meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Mr. Nabil Elaraby, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, and Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. The participants’ list is attached. Our discussions focused on the political process in Somalia, ways to comprehensively address the threat of al-Shabaab, the precarious humanitarian situation, and the path to economic recovery.

We commended the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) for leading the significant progress made towards the creation of a sovereign, secure, democratic, united and federal Somalia.

We welcomed recent political advances including the development of interim regional administrations and the creation of the Boundaries and Federation Commission and the National Independent Electoral Commission. We looked forward to the establishment of the remaining constitutionally mandated bodies, especially the Human Rights Commission and Constitutional Court, and urged the timely realization of support from international partners to enable all commissions to fulfill their mandates.

We emphasized the importance of establishing the last remaining interim regional administration by the end of 2015, and of advancing the review of the Provisional Federal Constitution. We reiterated our commitment to support new and emerging administrations to build their governance institutions within the framework of the Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility. We emphasized the importance of engaging Somali society in all these efforts, in particular women, youth and marginalized communities.

We recognized the challenges in Somalia that prevent the conduct of “one-person-one-vote” national elections in 2016. We re-affirmed the importance of respecting the constitutionally mandated terms of the legislature and executive, which expire in August and September 2016 respectively. We therefore warmly welcomed the launch, on 19 September, of the National Consultative Forum, whose goal is to oversee the development of an electoral process for 2016 that will result in enhanced representativeness and legitimacy, and reiterated our commitment to support these efforts.

We urged all Somali stakeholders to engage constructively in the consultations, as outlined in the Federal Government’s ‘Action Plan for Reaching Agreement on the 2016 Electoral Process’ and guiding principles, and stressed the importance of adhering strictly to its timetable to conclude a final decision in December.

Somalia’s peace process requires sustained focus and commitment. We therefore expressed our concern at recurrent political crises in the federal institutions. Recalling United Nations Security Council Resolution 2232 (2015), we urged all parties to put aside partisan interests and work together in a spirit of national unity for the good of Somalia. We affirmed that the FGS and its international partners will have no tolerance for those that hinder or delay peace- and state building, including the electoral process in 2016.

We strongly condemned the acts of terrorism perpetrated in Somalia, and the region, by al-Shabaab, which have cost so many civilian lives. Welcoming the presence among us of many members of the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), we noted that these heinous crimes negate the values of tolerance, moderation and the sanctity of the life that are central to Islam.

We paid tribute to the Somalia National Security Forces, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and their partners, for their courage and sacrifice. In the past year these forces have pushed back al-Shabaab from a number of its key strongholds, and opened new space for peace building and building local governance efforts.

We urged the continuation of joint Somalia National Army (SNA)/AMISOM offensive operations to recover remaining priority areas, degrade Al-Shabaab’s military capability, secure main supply routes for movement of people, goods and humanitarian relief and create space for peace- and statebuilding. We emphasized the importance of operations being conducted in respect of international humanitarian law and human rights, and noted the need for effective planning and coordination among all partners involved.

We called for the urgent provision of enhanced support to enable AMISOM to more effectively discharge its mandate, and to create conditions for deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation at the appropriate time. We welcomed the Secretary-General’s intention to present recommendations that would ensure the UN Support Office for AMISOM is effectively resourced and structured.

We welcomed the FGS commitment to developing the security sector, and emphasized the urgent need for a coherent security sector architecture which ensures complementarity between, and fiscal sustainability of, all its elements, and that enjoys the confidence of all Somalis.

We recognized the urgency of developing the SNA, including the necessary military capability and stipends, in line with the Guulwade Plan. We acknowledged the support already being provided by international partners, including the European Union, while noting the Federal Government’s commitment to ensure the timely payment of troop salaries, and implement a transparent and accountable financial management system. We commended the work of the National Integration Commission (NIC) to advance troop integration across Somalia, recognizing the support of the United Nations, African Union and Inter-Governmental Authority for Development in the process, and urged a speedy conclusion to the process.

We recognized that military efforts alone will not restore security. We agreed on the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to counter violent extremism in Somalia and the surrounding region. As part of the FGS’ mandate to establish the rule of law, we stressed the need to establish a law enforcement presence in areas liberated from al-Shabaab. We agreed on the need for increased support to the Somali police forces, in keeping with a national and comprehensive strategy. We urged the prompt finalization of such a strategy, as foreseen in the draft “Heegan” Plan.

We welcomed the FGS’ intention to undertake an effective communication strategy to undermine Takfiri and extremist ideology. We recognized the FGS’ offer of amnesty for al-Shabaab members who are willing to reconcile with the Government, respect the state’s authority and renounce global ambitions. We noted the need to ensure accountability for serious crimes, while respecting the human rights of the accused.

We urged enhanced support for rehabilitation and reconciliation initiatives to empower and equip affected youth to re-join and contribute to mainstream Somali life. We pledged to work together to foster educational and employment opportunities for all Somalia’s young people, noting that without access to meaningful and paid work, political and security gains will not be sustained.

We expressed alarm at the fragile humanitarian situation in Somalia, recognizing that almost three million Somalis are dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their most basic daily needs; that malnutrition rates are rising, and that spillover effects of the conflict in Yemen and the potential impact of El Niño are creating new pressures.

We commend the FGS and the Somali people for their welcome of refugees and returnees from Yemen and neighboring countries, while recognizing that more than 1.1 million Somalis remain internally displaced. We commended the countries hosting Somali refugees for their hospitality, and welcomed the critical contribution of the OIC to reaching populations in need inside the country. We committed to the formulation of a longer-term, strategic approach that addresses the underlying causes of protracted crisis and displacement through the pursuit of durable solutions for refugees and displaced populations. In this regard we recalled the importance of the Khartoum Process and of the forthcoming Valletta Summit in Malta in November. We called for urgent and adequate funding for critical humanitarian and protection services.

We appealed to all responsible entities to contribute to easing the flow of legitimate remittances from the Somali Diaspora, which are a lifeline for many in need, currently exceeding the total aid budget and investment to the country.

Noting that long-term stability cannot come without economic recovery, we recognized the vital importance of infrastructure and the urgent need to assist Somalia in reconstructing and building roads, ports and a dependable electricity supply. We pledged to work with the FGS to rapidly identify infrastructure improvement and investment priorities, the formulation of supportive national development plans and to support an institutional environment conducive to economic growth.

We welcomed the steps taken by the FGS to implement more effective and transparent public financial management, including the work of the Financial Governance Committee, and looked forward to further progress, including the finalization and adoption of the Public Finance Management, Procurement and Audit Bills. We welcomed the re-engagement of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) in Somalia, including the initial steps taken towards eventual debt relief processes, and the recent Article IV IMF consultation and urged continued progress on financial governance.

We called on all Somalis to work together in the interests of peace- and state building. We pledge our continued support to Somalia in the framework of the Somali Compact, and look forward to the next meeting of the High-Level Partnership Forum in Turkey in 2016 to take stock of progress and deliverables.

We stressed that the international community remains fully committed to supporting the Federal Government and the people of Somalia in their pursuit of Somali-led and owned peace, stability, security, human rights, and development.

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