Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström at the UN Security Council

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Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström, at the UN Security Council briefing on Somalia. Thursday, March 23, 2017, New York.

Mr President,

My thoughts are with the British people and, in particular, with the victims of the horrific attack at Westminster, the heart of British democracy. While we are angered by this callous and cowardly attack, I am confident that the legendary resilience and spirit of Londoners will shine through. There can be no surrender to fear. We stand united against the threat of terrorism in all forms, committed where ever and by whomever.

Mr President,

Let me thank the UK Presidency for convening this meeting as we embark on the next step towards a peaceful and prosperous Somalia.

I want to congratulate the people of Somalia on the successful completion of parliamentary and presidential elections. I am encouraged by the positive results, especially an increased representation of young people and almost a doubling of the number of women in parliament. I am equally encouraged that women make up 23 percent of the newly appointed Cabinet.

There is now an opportunity to put renewed energy into the continued peace- and statebuilding process in Somalia. Let me highlight three aspects that I believe need to be addressed in order to maintain a positive path, with continued support from the international community and this Council.

First of all,

With the process of creating federal member states concluded, focus now needs to shift towards clarifying the arrangements between the central government and the federal states. For this to be fruitful, the constructive relations already established need to be further strengthened. The establishment of local governance and bringing basic social services to all Somalis must be given priority. Furthermore the constitutional review needs to be urgently resumed as part of resolving outstanding political issues, with a view to being concluded before 2020.

Secondly,

Preparations for the 2020 elections need to start at the earliest possible moment and a clear roadmap towards 'one-person, one vote' needs to be developed, incorporating lessons learned from the now concluded electoral process.

A third priority is to make sure that ordinary Somalis benefit from our collective peacebuilding and development efforts. In order for these to be successful, an improvement of the security situation in Somalia is still a crucial element.

I welcome the efforts already made by the Somali Government and its partners in this regard. Let me especially commend AMISOM for its vital work. It is critical that we ensure it has the necessary support, including more predictable and sustainable funding. On this note, I welcome AU's plans to strengthen self financing, not least in the field of peace and security. At the same time a continued discussion on access to assessed UN contributions is very timely.

We also need to make sure AMISOM's drawdown is consistent with a corresponding build-up, and takeover, of Somalia's own security forces. Strong UN leadership in Somalia, well-coordinated support and a 'comprehensive approach to security', as adopted by UNSOM, will be necessary. The high-level conference in London in May will hopefully allow us to identify a clear path for sustainable Security Sector Reform.

Mr President,

Lastly, I want to express my deep concern about the severe situation caused by the drought in Somalia and the region. The international community, including Sweden, is responding and there seems to be a strong and joint determination not to allow a repeat of the catastrophic famine only six years ago. However, the peak of the drought has likely not yet been reached and it is crucial that we continue to scale up – both funding and delivery. The strong leadership taken by the new Government in addressing this issue will help our joint effort.

Also, the regional challenges of the drought, exacerbated by refugee flows and on-going conflict, need to be addressed. I encourage Somalia's neighbours and regional states to further strengthen cross-border and regional cooperation to address these complex and inter-linked challenges in a comprehensive way.

Mr President,

To conclude, maintaining a positive trajectory will require hard work by the Somali Government, as well as dedicated and long-term support from the international community. Sweden remains committed to continuing our strong partnership with Somalia to ensure sustainable peace and development for all Somalis.

Thank you.

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