“Today, Somalia is again facing a political stalemate, which threatens the progress made in recent years towards stabilization,” TS Tirumurti said at the UNSC meeting on Somalia.
India called the political stalemate over the holding of elections in Somalia “disappointing” and said the delay will encourage Al-Shabaab and other armed groups to gain ground and continue their acts of terror which reverse the democratic gains achieved so far.
“Today, Somalia is once again facing a political stalemate, which threatens the progress made in recent years towards stabilization. The political impasse on the holding of elections is indeed disappointing ”, declared on February 22 the permanent representative of India to the UN ambassador TS Tirumurti during the meeting of the Security Council of the United Nations. on Somalia.
He said it had been more than five months since the signing of the agreement in September last year between Somalia’s federal government and federal member states.
However, “contrary to our expectations”, the meeting between Somali leaders initially scheduled for February 15 and then February 18 and 19 did not take place. Stressing the importance for Somali leaders to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve the issues that are delaying the holding of elections, Tirumurti said: “We are now awaiting a swift decision from the leadership for the holding of elections soon. “.
He said New Delhi welcomes the announcement on February 16 that the Technical Committee representing the federal government and federal member states has identified solutions to the outstanding electoral issues and that these have been submitted to the National Advisory Council.
“There is no doubt that the longer it takes to organize an election, the more complicated the situation will become. This delay will only encourage Al-Shabaab and other armed groups to gain ground and continue their terrorist acts, which will undermine the democratic progress made so far, ”Tirumurti said, stressing that the India urges all Somalis not to resort to violence during this time. important transition and instead encourage dialogue and reconciliation.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, James Swan, told the Council by video conference that the political stalemate between the main Somali leaders has blocked the implementation of the electoral model agreed by the President of the Federal Government of Somalia and the leaders. of federal member states on September 17, 2020.
“This model has been formally approved by both houses of Parliament and supported by all other major political actors, but its implementation is contested,” he said.
Mr Swan added that tensions around the implementation of the elections have now been compounded by questions raised by some politicians about the legitimacy of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s term after his constitutional term expired on February 8.
The government cites an October parliamentary resolution allowing the president to stay, but that is contested by others, he said.
Tirumurti expressed concern at the frequency of terrorist attacks perpetrated by Al-Shabaab in recent months and said that last week’s suicide bombing in Mogadishu reflected the fragile security situation in the country.
Strongly condemning these terrorist attacks, Tirumurti said India was also concerned about the increased use of IEDs by Al-Shabaab and called for expanding support to Somali security forces in strengthening their ability to fight. against this threat.
India also expressed deep concern at the worsening humanitarian situation in Somalia, as the enduring conflict and economic instability have been compounded by the triple threat of COVID-19, locusts and flooding.
Mr. Tirumurti said it was “reprehensible” that aid workers working under such difficult circumstances were targeted by Al-Shabaab and its affiliated groups.
“Access for humanitarian workers remains essential to alleviate the challenges facing the Somali people. Equally important is helping Somalia control the Desert Locust which is spreading from that region to many parts of Asia, causing extensive crop damage. This aspect should also be given special attention by the international community ”, he declared.
Mr. Tirumurti underlined that the situation in Somalia calls for a sustained engagement with the Federal Government and the Federal Member States to comprehensively address the multitude of problems in the political, security and humanitarian fields.
Noting that the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has played a key role in containing Al-Shabaab in Somalia for several years now, Tirumurti said Somali security forces and institutions needed support. continued to fight against Al-Shabaab and other armed groups. and the transition of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali security forces must be carefully calibrated, bearing in mind the realities on the ground.
Mr. Tirumurti warned that a “hasty withdrawal will reverse” the progress made so far. He added that the extension of AMISOM’s mandate should not be limited by current funding constraints, adding that a technical postponement of AMISOM’s mandate would allow all stakeholders to consider the reconfiguration of the company. ‘AMISOM in a comprehensive manner at a later date.
On the issue of piracy, Tirumurti said that while there has been no successful piracy attack off the coast of Somalia recently, the threat has persisted.
The Indian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia continuously since October 2008 and has coordinated with multinational partners to contribute to maritime safety and security for all in the region, he said.