The top United Nations official in Somalia today lauded the progress made in the Horn of Africa country amid military and political gains on the ground and a successful partnership between international and national stakeholders.
Briefing the UN press corps at the Organization’s Headquarters in New York and following an informal interactive dialogue with the Security Council held earlier in the day, Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), told reporters that the situation in the country remained a “distinctive bright spot” on the Council’s agenda as the nation continues down its road towards political recovery and increased security.
Despite ongoing difficulties throughout the country ranging from economic to political to security issues, Mr. Kay, however, explained that Somalia retained all the problems of a country “still coming together” after decades of conflict.
“Why is it coming together and why is it being successful?” he asked. “Because it is firstly a Somali-led and owned process and the result of a unique partnership between the African Union, UN, and the Federal Government.”
Moreover, he added, the gains on the ground against Al-Shabaab – the Islamist extremist group that has waged a long-standing terrorist campaign against Somalia’s Government – underscored the successes of a cohesive military operation which formed merely “one component in a comprehensive approach.”
In a recent briefing of the Security Council in May, in fact, Mr. Kay, told member States that momentum had been regained on efforts to achieve political progress in the country, pointing to work by federal, regional and local leaders, and parliamentarians to build a State through dialogue and reconciliation, and top-level commitment to deliver Somalia’s Vision 2016 plan.
The Special Representative’s press conference follows a morning meeting at the Security Council in which the UN official and Council Members discussed the steps on how to enhance the African Union Mission in Somalia’s (AMISOM) military campaign against Al-Shabaab as the operation enters its “final stage” in rooting out the terrorists.