UN envoy urges new leaders in Somalia to address pressing issues


UN (AP) — Somalia The UN special envoy to Somalia on Monday urged Somalia to work for national reconciliation, improve relations between the central government and the country, and face the growing threat from al-Shabaab, based on last week’s new presidential elections. extremist groups.

James Swan called the conclusion of Somalia’s “excessively lengthy and contentious” election process last week “a major milestone for the country” and told the UN Security Council that the time has come for leaders to tackle Somalia and other pressing issues.

The special envoy said he had met Somalia’s new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, three days after being elected on 15 May and heard about his goals. These include completing constitutional reviews and judicial reforms, completing electoral laws, ensuring compliance with debt relief conditions, and urging attention to “severe drought”.

Swan calls this a “moment of opportunity” and says Somalia’s entire UN system is ready to work with the new government to support these goals.

Mohamud’s election, who served as Somalia’s president from 2012 to 2017, ended a long-delayed election process. Concerns over political tensions and unrest have risen after President Mohammed Abdullah Hime Mohammed’s term of office expired in February 2021 without a successor.

Mohamud defeated Abdullahi Mohammed in a secret ballot by members of both houses.

In the Horn of Africa, where rival clans battle fiercely for political power, no incumbent president has ever been elected twice in a row. And no former Somali president had successfully held office until Mohamud was elected.

Somalia has only begun to find a foothold in the last few years after 30 years of chaos caused by wars between warlords and violence caused by the emergence of al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab extremist groups and those linked to the Islamic State.

Swan said the country’s current security situation is “very unstable”, as al-Shabab has been emboldened in recent months by domestic political tensions and planned attacks in the capital Mogadishu, the southwestern province, and Hirshabel.

US President Joe Biden signed an order the day after Mohamud’s election to redeploy hundreds of US troops to Somalia to counter al-Shabab, considered the largest and wealthiest affiliate of al-Qaeda’s extremist group. U.S. military leaders say those efforts were hampered by President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops later in his term.

In an election proclamation, Francisco Madeira, special representative of the African Union, said the new president of Somalia was “focused on liberating the country from al-Shabaab”. politics.

Prime Minister Madeira said in a video briefing that a peaceful transfer of power creates conditions for advancing national political dialogue and deepening reconciliation. He added that he is pleased that the new administration is already engaging local leaders on important national issues.

Madeira said with the newly elected parliament and president that “the door is now open for a new chapter in Somalia’s history”.

He said there is an opportunity for Somalis to reconcile with each other, end war, bring peace to the country, spur economic development and “restore Somalia to its former glory and beyond”.

However, Swan warned that Somalia faces a deteriorating humanitarian situation with another major problem, the unsuccessful monsoons for the fourth year in a row.

He said 6.1 million people are currently affected by the drought and six communities are at risk of famine if food prices continue to rise and humanitarian aid faltering.

He called for urgent donations, saying that the UN humanitarian appeal for $1.45 billion in Somalia is almost half this year.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said after more than four years of political struggle, reconciliation between the new government and the state is essential to resolving serious problems. She said this includes facing al-Shabaab’s “threatening threat”, which means “easing the horrific humanitarian conditions that inspire extremism.”

She also urged the new government and the international community to keep Somalians from starving or thirsting, warning that Somalia could be “on the verge of famine” if Russia’s war on Ukraine continues to cut off wheat and other food supplies. Somalia.

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