Thank you, President, I thank SRSG Laing and SRCC Souef for their briefings this morning, and for the continued work of their teams and troops in really challenging circumstances. I also welcome the participation of the Permanent Representative of Somalia Ambassador Osman in this meeting.
Let me begin by reiterating the UK’s full support and solidarity with Somalia in the fight against al-Shabaab.
President, we are approaching a crunch point in the security transition. 2024 will see the transition from ATMIS to Somali-led security continue. It comes as Somalia continues its ongoing offensive operations against Al-Shabaab. This Council and the UN should continue to work closely with Somalia and the African Union to ensure both objectives are balanced and both are successful. Member States need to support ATMIS and Somalia financially. Since 2022 the UK has contributed over $57 million to ATMIS and over $12 million to the Somalia Trust Fund. We urge other Member States to scale up support.
The UK welcomes the positive collaboration between the Government and ATMIS on the recent, Joint Technical Assessment. By working together, the African Union and the Government of Somalia, with the support of the UN and partners can ensure that the security transition is successful. AMISOM [African Union Mission to Somalia] and ATMIS have made huge sacrifices in enabling Somalia to get to where it is today – we fully support you as you seek to finish the job.
The UK also welcomes the Government’s commitment to establishing inclusive political processes. Progress on this agenda, including clarity on the Electoral Model and the constitutional review, will underpin medium to long-term stability in Somalia.
Indeed, progress with state-building and peace-building is also essential to ensure sustained progress in the fight against Al-Shabaab as it will consolidate the military gains. Our top priority in Somalia is to support the Government to take forward state-building and political reform objectives while it continues to address security threats.
President, let me conclude by commending Somalia on its progress through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. Thanks to Somalia’s hard work, the country is on track to benefit from debt relief, including from the UK. After debt relief, Somalia has the opportunity to continue to increase revenue collection, strengthen fiscal management, and limit the space for corruption.
Taken together: security successes, accompanied by progress on political and economic reforms should be a cause for cautious optimism.