Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Somalia: EU - Council conclusions on Somalia

Source: European Union (EU)

Date: 21 Mar 2011

Brussels, 21 March 2011

The Council adopted the following conclusions:

"1. The EU expresses its continued deep concern about the political, security, development and humanitarian situation in Somalia, including the resulting increase in the number of displaced people. Instability in Somalia is posing a growing challenge not only to the security of people in Somalia, but also to the region and the rest of the world, through terrorism, piracy and the proliferation of weapons.

2. The EU confirms its continued support for the Djibouti peace process, which remains the framework for peace building and stability in Somalia. It is imperative that the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) demonstrate unity, common purpose and determination to advance in this incremental and all-inclusive process.

3. The EU deeply regrets the recent unilateral decision by the Somali Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) to extend its mandate. It urges the TFIs to focus on implementing the reforms that are necessary to build their legitimacy, representativeness and credibility and without which there can be no extension. Any bridging period between the current and the reformed institutional set up should be as short as possible. The EU expects the TFIs to use any such period to advance reconciliation, security and justice and to develop minimum levels of governance to allow a more transparent management of state revenues and the provision of basic services to the people of Somalia. The EU agrees that future support to the TFIs including stipends for parliamentarians, should be contingent on progress on reform and delivery of the transitional tasks.

4. The EU stands ready to contribute, together with regional and international partners, to the implementation of an agreed reform agenda for the TFIs on the basis of clear agreed benchmarks with a timeline for implementation.

5. The EU emphasises the importance of re-energising the constitutional process, in order to conclude the transitional period. If it is to have legitimacy, this process should be based on broad participation by the Somali people. The EU supports the role of the UN in facilitating a Somali-led process.

6. The EU calls on the Somali leadership to engage more actively with all stakeholders, including regional administrations and parties to agreements with the TFIs, clan elders, religious leaders, businesspeople, women and the diaspora, in order to develop a credible and inclusive Somali-owned political process for the benefit of all Somali people. The EU encourages regional entities to actively and constructively participate in this process. It also calls on all armed groups to urgently lay down their weapons and join in a genuine broadbased peaceful dialogue with the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

7. The EU confirms its full support to the UN and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (UNSRSG), Mr Mahiga. It calls for more effective use of the current mechanisms of coordination between the Somali authorities and the international community, to ensure a common position favourable and conducive to reform and stability. The EU calls on the Somali authorities to continue their co-operation with the UNSRSG and to use his good offices as well as his leadership within the International Contact Group (ICG) on Somalia, as a means for more effective consultation.

8. The EU notes the conclusions of the last ICG on Somalia held in Madrid on 27-28 September 2010, and confirms its willingness to increase its political support to Somalia which will aim at supporting partnership with federal, regional and local authorities.

9. The EU recalls that there can be no purely military solution to the crisis in Somalia. The EU reaffirms its support for AMISOM and praises the commitment and bravery of the AMISOM peacekeeping troops who, together with the security forces of the TFG, have paid a heavy toll to help build security for the Somali people. The EU underlines that such support must be matched by complementary political efforts by the TFG, including initiatives to demonstrate peace dividends to people in safe areas. Considerations on future engagement in the framework of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), including the EU Training Mission (EUTM) in Uganda, will depend on the political context, satisfactory progress on a command and control structure, and on the evaluation of the reintegration of the first batch of trainees.

10. The EU reiterates the need to strengthen initiatives to fight piracy. The EU commends the contribution of the EU counter-piracy operation, EU NAVFOR Atalanta, to this end. EU NAVFOR will continue to adapt to the changing tactics of pirates and seek to implement agreed measures pro-actively where possible. The EU expresses its grave concern over the growing number of people, including seafarers, held hostage. Prosecution and detention of pirates are key components of counter-piracy: the EU agrees on the need for strong support for continued capacity-building in the rule of law and penal detention sectors in Somalia and the wider region, which would also facilitate the conclusion of transfer agreements. The EU considers that work needs to be taken forward on contributing towards making progress on implementing lasting solutions for the prosecution of pirates, building on the work already done last year by the EU, and taking into account ongoing work in the UN context. In this regard, the EU welcomes the report of the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General on Legal Issues related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, and looks forward to the further debate in the UN on the implementation of its recommendations. The EU also welcomes the agreement on post-trial transfer between the Seychelles Government and the Somali TFG. The EU emphasizes the need for work on disrupting the financial flows linked to piracy and addressing the situation of hostages.

11. The EU is committed to supporting the counter-piracy "Kampala Process", bringing together the TFG and the regions Puntland and Somaliland, the Djibouti Code of Conduct and the implementation of the Regional Plan of Action agreed by ministers from the region in October 2010. The EU recognises the need to target its technical and financial support in this sector most effectively, working closely alongside the UN-mandated Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, which plays an international coordinating role.

12. Containment at sea will be further strengthened by efforts to tackle the root causes of piracy, focussed on improving livelihoods, economic opportunities and the rule of law. The EU will continue to support regional initiatives to this end and will take an active role in co-ordinating international efforts in those regions of Somalia most affected, including in Puntland.

13. The EU expresses particular concern about the increasing tension and evidence of military build-up in Sool Region and Buhoodle District, and calls on the regional authorities to contain the confrontation, exert restraint and foster dialogue to resolve differences.

14. The EU is actively considering increasing its financial assistance to support central, regional and local level administrations in consolidating stable and accountable governance and improving livelihood opportunities and the provision of basic services. The EU aim is to enhance its support to regions of Somalia, such as Somaliland and Puntland, committed to peace, stability and democracy.

15. Given the scale of the humanitarian crisis facing Somalia, the EU will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable populations in accordance with the humanitarian principles of independence, neutrality, impartiality and humanity. The EU is deeply concerned by the continuing contraction of humanitarian space and access in Somalia, and calls on all actors to ensure free and unhindered access for the delivery of humanitarian assistance."