DJIBOUTI, Djibouti, February 6, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The 21st meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG) on Somalia was held under the chairmanship of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Dr Augustine Mahiga, from 5-6 February 2012 in Djibouti. Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf of the Republic of Djibouti, Speaker Shariif Hassan Sheikh Aden of the Transitional Federal Parliament of the Republic of Somalia, Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali of the Transitional Federal Government of the Republic of Somalia, President Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud (Farole) of the Puntland State of Somalia, President Mohamed Ahmed Alin of the Galmudug State of Somalia, Abdilkader Moallim Noor of Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a and the African Union High Representative for Somalia President Jerry Rawlings addressed the meeting.
The ICG agreed that the Transition must end on 20 August 2012 in accordance with the Transitional Federal Charter, Djibouti Agreement, Kampala Accord, Roadmap and Garowe Principles. The minimum essential conditions include the finalisation of the draft constitution by 20 April as prescribed in the Roadmap and Garowe Principles leading to provisional adoption of a new Constitution (subject to a national referendum in due course), the establishment of a new, smaller and more representative Parliament and elections for the positions of Speaker, Deputies and President.
The ICG welcomed the Principles agreed in Garowe on 24 December 2011, particularly in terms of building the momentum towards ending the Transition and defining the parameters and modalities for the process to move forward. Nevertheless, the ICG stressed the urgent need to broaden consultation with civil society and other stakeholders in order that future decisions, especially with regard to the precise method for selecting members of the Constituent Assembly and Parliament, enjoy the widest possible support. Accordingly, the ICG welcomed plans by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and Puntland State of Somalia to hold a second meeting from 15-17 February in Garowe with a wider group of stakeholders than before in order to elaborate the way forward and address outstanding issues such as the nature of federalism and the system of government. The ICG looked forward to receiving an ambitious and clear timetable needed to deliver the Garowe process.
Looking beyond the Transition, the ICG stressed the importance of holding direct, popular elections as soon as and wherever possible at district, regional, state and federal levels in order to maximise public participation.
More generally, the ICG noted that there had been good progress in some areas of the Roadmap, but not across the board. In particular, the Group welcomed recent efforts by the TFG to reach out to a number of regional administrations, but reiterated its call for the overdue establishment of the High Level Committee on a formal and fully inclusive basis. The Group also encouraged all relevant stakeholders to participate actively in the Technical Committee and in its several sub-committees with a view to facilitating the full implementation of the Roadmap (including any necessary mobilisation of resources).
The ICG recognises the important role being played by the League of Arab States and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and encourages them to continue their efforts.
Given the importance of timely implementation of the Roadmap, the ICG expressed its strong concern over recent action by some Members of Parliament to attempt to replace the Speaker. Accordingly, it encouraged the UN, AU and IGAD to undertake further mediation efforts before Garowe II in the hope of achieving an agreed solution – failing which, the UN, AU and IGAD should identify spoilers for possible sanctions based on their obstruction of the peace process.
The ICG strongly condemns all forms of violence and intimidation against Somali journalists and media organisations, and urges the Somali authorities to end impunity, investigate and prosecute those responsible.
The Group reiterated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia.
Security and Stabilisation
The ICG applauded recent military successes by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), TFG forces and their partners in response to continuing aggression by Al Shabaab. The Group reiterated its condolences to the families of the victims, including the relatives of TFG soldiers, their allies and AMISOM who have lost their lives. The ICG called upon all military actors to ensure adequate protection of civilians and unimpeded access for humanitarian agencies.
While recognising that the improvement of the security situation remains primarily the responsibility of the TFG, the Group welcomed the combined efforts of the AU, AMISOM troop-contributing countries, regional partners and the UN in developing a comprehensive strategic concept for AMISOM. They agreed that an enhanced
AMISOM capability could seize the present moment of opportunity further to improve the security situation, enable the TFG to extend its authority and reach out to the population in newly-recovered areas. The Group acknowledged that this would require adequate, sustainable and predictable funding, including for an expanded logistical support package, and called for uncaveated contributions to the AMISOM Trust Fund, including from potential new donors, and for additional troop contributors. The Group also noted the urgent need to strengthen the capacity of TFG security forces.
The ICG noted the importance of establishing functional local administration and stabilisation programmes in areas recovered from Al Shabaab. In this regard, the Group welcomed a specific and detailed proposal from the TFG, and urged the provision of timely and adequate resources for its rapid implementation in order to consolidate the peace, promote reconciliation, restore law and order, release and reintegrate children associated with armed groups, revive basic services and strengthen governance at district, regional, state and federal levels. The Group underscored the need to converge both bottom-up (i.e. community-led) and top-down (TFG-facilitated) processes to fill the territorial and political space vacated by the retreating elements of Al Shabaab. The ICG calls upon Al Shabaab and all other extremist organisations to renounce violence and embrace the Djibouti peace process.
The ICG welcomed the planned London Conference on 23 February as an opportunity to focus additional attention at the highest level on turning the tide in Somalia. The Group reiterated its commitment to ensuring that the Conference gives fresh impetus to the international community’s support for Somalia by building on the work of the UN, AU and IGAD to facilitate the completion of the Roadmap, consolidation and expansion of security gains and preparation for the post-Transition period.
Reconstruction and Recovery
The ICG remains committed to supporting Somalia’s long-term reconstruction and development, which should produce a tangible improvement in the daily lives of ordinary Somalis. The ICG notes that it will be harder to secure progress in the military and political process unless genuine effort is made to achieve economic growth, reconstruction and recovery. To this end, the Group looks forward to the planned Istanbul II conference in June. Before then, the ICG urges the Roadmap signatories – in consultation with the UN and major donors – to develop a detailed plan which should include ways to improve access to basic services, education, employment, infrastructure and incentives for peace.
In view of the urgent importance of ending the Transition and reinforcing recent military gains, this ICG focused primarily on the political process and promoting stabilisation. Nevertheless, further progress regarding security, including fighting against piracy and terrorism, are also key to improving governance and stability and in addressing the many other issues which concern us in Somalia – including the humanitarian crisis, violations of human rights and protection of children. As we approach the end of Transition and a hoped-for new era of peace and economic recovery in Somalia, the ICG is committed to becoming even more effective at representing and coordinating the international community’s response. The ICG therefore discussed various options for reform and revised working methods, and invited further proposals with a view to reaching agreement on a possible restructuring.
In the meantime, the ICG welcomes with appreciation the bold relocation of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia from Nairobi to Mogadishu, and looks forward to shifting the presence of other UN agencies and international partners progressively to Somalia.
The International Contact Group thanked the Government of Djibouti for hosting this meeting.
African Union, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Djibouti, East African Community, Egypt, Ethiopia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, Islamic Development Bank, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea (Republic), League of Arab States, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Netherlands, Norway, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia (TFG, TFP, Puntland, Galmudug, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a), South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States of America, Yemen and World Bank.
United Nations Office for Somalia (UNPOS)