UNSOM no longer ‘responsive,’ Somalia says, calls for reform of UN body

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NEW YORK (RBB NEWS) – Somalia has called for reform of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) noting that the UN body was no longer responsive to the changing environment in the country.

In a written address to the UN Security Council Friday, Somalia’ permanent representative to the UN Abukar Osman said UNSOM’s manner of operation was not ‘proportionate with the efforts and achievements by the Federal Government.’

“This has caused the mission’s actions to become reactive to the events, with little ability to provide political support and technical assistance on critical outcomes that are fundamental to Somalia’s state-building agenda,” Osman said in what is seen as one of the harshest indictments of the UN body.

To make UNSOM alive to the ‘realities on the ground’ and respond accordingly, Osman said, there was need to for an independent assessment by the Secretary General to ‘forge a new path forward for the international support to security environment in Somalia beyond 2021’.

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The Somali diplomat observed that time had come to review the mandate of UNSOM to make it more flexible and responsive in light of the changes and align it with Somalia’s priorities.

HOL has learnt that Osman was not accorded the chance to address the Security Council in line with tradition where permanent representatives speak before it when matters relating to their countries are being debated. A source privy to the developments told HOL the move to deny him audience may have been in connection with his ‘harsh criticism’ of UNSOM.

Osman also urged the Council to cut down on narratives and details in Secretary General reports to give room for ‘more in-depth analysis of major issues as well as recommendations and conclusions.’

The Security Council Friday adopted a compromise resolution to extend the mandate of UNSOM for a further one year. The UK had proposed a nine months extension but it later accepted the 12 months extension supported by majority members.

Somalia has in the past accused the UNSOM of ‘sensationalising’ political developments in the country and perceived interference in local politics. In one case in December 2018, then UNSOM head Nicholas Haysom was kicked out of the country by the Federal Government over his indictment of the Federal Government on the political skirmishes in Baidoa which led to the death of at least 15 civilians.

Haysom had demanded answers from Mogadishu on its role in the developments ahead of the South West state presidential elections.