Statement by H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
President of the Federal Republic of Somalia
68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
26 September 2013
Mr. President, Secretary General of the United Nations,
Heads of State and Government,
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is an honor for me to be here with you today. As it is my first time addressing this esteemed and respected body, the United Nations General Assembly as President of Somalia. First, let me congratulate the President of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the United Nations for its unwavering support to Somalia. It was 10th September last year when I was elected as the President of Somalia, and it is the first time that we have a permanent government after 22 years without functioning state. Somalia would not have ended the transition last year without the help of the United Nations and all other countries that stood with us during difficult times.
One of the main purposes of the United Nations is to maintain international peace and security. Therefore, it is imperative that we together stand to ensure that the world is peaceful and stable. Somalia and other countries are still suffering and need the support of friends, allies and all members of this august body to come together to find ways to overcome all the challenges that exist in this universe. It is time to reflect our collective progresses, challenges and opportunities in ensuring that the world is free from conflict. I have no doubt that if we collectively work hard, understand issues, become self critical with our strategies and provide all the necessary support and assistance to all countries that are struggling to bring peace and stability; we will prevail in achieving our main purpose in this world.
This struggle must be redoubled; we strongly condemn the cruel and terrible attack in Nairobi’s Westgate Mall and send our condolences to the Kenyan people and government. The Westgate Shopping Mall attack in Nairobi demonstrates to the world a number of important points. First, the battle to fight against Al-Qaeda and its offshoots like Alshabab in the Horn is far from over, Alshabab is indeed a national threat but its consequences have negative impact to the region and the entire world, not just Somalia alone.
Second, the fight against Alshabab must be fought on many fronts: military, economic, political and ideological. The military, security and intelligence forces are a crucial element in this battle but they are only one part of the solution.
Third, Alshabab are down but not died. We now need the tools to finish the job and we call on our friends to remain resolute and help us to end this situation. Our brave Somali forces, AMISOM, and Ethiopia, need help to fight our enemies. That is simply not good enough. AMISOM must be reinforced and expanded. Little investment required for these enhancements into insignificance compared with the great expense that will be needed later if the international community does not help finish the job.
Furthermore, we must not overreact but remain focused in weakening and uprooting the terrorist basis, militarily and ideologically. In doing so, we must not underestimate them, nor should we overestimate them and fall for their childish, irresponsible and useless propaganda.
These brutal terrorist organizations have no mercy to our people, wherever they are in Nairobi and Mogadishu or elsewhere. But, let me reassure you that we will fight and defeat Alshabab in the deserts and in towns, on digital and social media, we will fight them on the airwaves and in the newspapers, we challenge them in schools, colleges and universities and we will overcome them. We have defeated them on the battlefield and we must now defeat their poisonous ideology with innovative strategies, cutting-edge technologies, comprehensive education and vigorous communications. That’s our commitment and we fulfill and I call on our partners to remain strong and stand shoulder to shoulder with Kenya and with Somalia. Only if we remain resolute and together will we prevail.
In just one year, the cornerstones of a new Somalia have been successfully and peacefully laid. We have made milestone achievements in security, public finance management, reconciliation, political outreach and laying foundations of good governance with appropriate legislations in place. The Federal Government of Somalia has now established the basis of a new public finance management system, which we believe will enable our donors to agree funding arrangements with the confidence that funds will reach their intended recipients.
This is at the heart of the Compact we’ve signed in Brussels earlier this month. This compact represents a paradigm shift in how the international community engages with Somalia and I welcome this transformation whole-heartedly. The New Deal will help Somalia preserve unity and sovereignty, lay a strong foundation for building reliable, transparent, and accountable functioning state institutions, respectful of the fundamental rights and freedoms and equality of its citizens.
To succeed, the New Deal must be more than words and frameworks. It must deliver on the ground. There are huge expectations on the compact to revolutionize service delivery efforts of the government. We need to transform lives of our people, reconnect with our citizens and enhance their wellbeing. In the meantime, we have started a campaign to revitalize service delivery in districts and regions, provide healthcare, and enable access to clean water. We have launched an initiative called “Go to School” under it’s auspices, we are planning to enroll 100,000 students to the schools in this academic year and one million students will eventually be in the schools in the next three years. This is not without challenges but we commit and prevail.
On the other hand, I would like to present to you the political progress that we are making in Somalia – we believe political solution is the first step in building a stable governance framework in our country. We have begun to lay the foundations for the return of effective, stable and representative governance in Somalia: the cornerstone of lasting peace.
To this end, Somalia should possess a fully-fledged Constitution reflecting a broad national consensus on how we wish to govern ourselves. We must complete the establishment of our federal system, and advance the process of democratization through development of a multiparty electoral system.
In accordance, our Parliament has already passed legislation establishing an independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission, as required by the Provisional Constitution. We must move quickly to put in place other critical, statutory bodies, including the Boundaries and Federation Commission and National Independent Electoral Commission, whose tasks will be to guide our thinking and inform our actions and decisions in order to complete Somalia’s journey to unity, stability and democracy.
In March this year, my Government signed an agreement with the authorities in Puntland, framing our shared commitment to implement a federal system of governance.
On 27th August, we signed an accord that establishes an interim Juba Administration, which also aspires to become a Federal Member State in accordance with the Constitution. This agreement, achieved after long months of painstaking negotiations, demonstrates what can be achieved through the combination of Somali political leadership, and the steadfast support of our close neighbors.
We have begun similar processes elsewhere in Somalia, establishing interim administrations in the remaining regions to pursue the twin goals of peace building and state building across southern Somalia. Members of Parliament have also played a key role in all of these processes, working with their constituencies and serving as a critical channel of communication between the people of their regions and the Federal Government.
With the good offices of the Government of Turkey, we have continued our dialogue with the authorities in Somaliland, underscoring our determination to preserve the unity of the country, not by force and coercion, but through dialogue, mutual respect and understanding. Somali unity must be more than a rhetorical device: it must preserve and promote the dignity, equality and legitimate aspirations of all Somali citizens. By adhering to such principles, we are confident that our dialogue with Somaliland will not only continue, but will eventually bear fruit.
These are major milestones, but enormous challenges still lie ahead – challenges that were clearly articulated by participants at the Vision 2016 Conference convened on 2nd September, 2013 in Mogadishu, where some of the best minds in the country, and from Somali communities living abroad, came together to offer their remarkable experience, insights and expertise in charting the way forward. At another major gathering just last week in Mogadishu, respected Somali religious leaders from across the country announced their determination to a future free from the intolerance and extremism that has taken root in recent years.
We ensure that during the course of the daily struggle to rebuild our country we do not lose sight of the longer-term challenges ahead, we are announcing the Vision 2016 Initiative: a concerted effort under my leadership, to complete the Constitution, establish the federal system and prepare the ground for elections. We will need direction, determination, discipline, as well as the requisite human and financial resources if we are to succeed, and as we roll out the concrete objectives and benchmarks for this initiative.
Finally, People may ask why Somalia matters at this time but there is a huge amount at stake right now: the future of our country, the security of the region and the wider world, in particular the war against Al-Qaeda group in Somalia and the removal of the piracy stranglehold on the Gulf of Aden is indeed a common challenge.
The progress that has been made in Somalia on these critical stakes over the past years would not have been possible without the courageous support of IGAD, the African Union through Troop Contributing Countries, and the ultimate sacrifice made by many brave African soldiers. We pay tribute to them and we owe them their memory to ensure that we do not take one single step backwards.
I would equally like to thank the European Union for its leadership in organizing the recent Brussels Conference, and I also would like to thank those of you who made the commitment, not only to take part the meeting but your generosity of making pledges to help the development and reconstruction of Somalia. We hope that others will also follow them same.
We welcome UNSOM, the new United Nations Mission in Somalia, and We are now working together to bring peace and stability in Somalia. UNSOM is doing a great job and we look forward to implement all outstanding issues together. UNSOM has shown commitment to relocate their offices to Somalia. Tragically the extremists, who are terrified of progress, killed innocent people in an attack against the UN in Mogadishu. I offer my sincere condolences to the UN and their families. The UN has reacted mindfully and reiterated its support to Somalia. I thank you for that courage and commitment.
War is something we Somalis have experienced too much of it in recent years and we feel sadness particularly when we look at Syria and see our brothers embarking on a civil war that will only bring the ruin of the country. It is much easier to start a war than to end one. After two years, the conflict in Syria is already entrenched. Hatred has taken hold of the hearts of too many men and women while a new generation of children has to endure a childhood full of suffering, with no education.
As a Somali who has lived through the world’s longest, most devastating civil war, I can speak with bitter experience of the legacies of war. We must not allow use of Chemical Weapons against human being in war or otherwise let alone children, women and vulnerable. The International Community must assume responsibility and send powerful massage to those who are responsible of the continued conflict in Syria. We must continue to encourage all sides in Syria, and their international allies, that the only way out of this tragedy is negotiation.
Before I conclude, let me reiterate that impunity has no place in this world but selective justice and targeted trials are against the principles of promotion of peace, justice and reconciliation. Regrettably, the ICC trials of African leaders became politically motivated and not in line with the cordial objectives and principles, it also denies, healing from wounds of the conflict and jeopardizes national unity and cohesion.
I would like to close by thanking you all, and paying tribute to your dedicated support. Together we can make Somalia strong again. We have planted the seeds of a New Somalia. We wish to see it grow into a tree standing tall in the African bush with deep roots binding it securely to its region and offering shade and protection to its people as they rebuild their lives.