- The present report, submitted pursuant to paragraph 28 of Security Council resolution 2408 (2018) and paragraph 55 of resolution 2431 (2018), provides information on the implementation of both resolutions, including on the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS). The report covers major developments in Somalia during the period 25 April to 22 August 2018.
II. Political, security and economic overview
A. Political developments
The inauguration on 10 May of the new Speaker of the House of the People,
Mohamed Mursal Sheikh Abdirahman, following his election in April, marked the end of the political impasse of the previous months. At his inauguration, Mr. Mursal outlined his legislative priorities for the House, including the delivery of a legal framework for multiparty elections, an intergovernmental relations bill a nd the completion of the review of the Provisional Federal Constitution. Parliament began its recess on 9 July and will resume on 10 September.
The National Security Council, comprising the leaders of the Federal Government and federal member states, met in Baidoa from 3 to 5 June. They reached a political agreement in principle on an electoral model based on a proportional representation and closed party list system, in addition to an agreement on ownership, administration and sharing of revenues from petroleum and minerals. At the meeting, federal member states continued to express their concern at the lack of resources allocated to them by the Federal Government. Prior to the meeting of the National Security Council, the Presidents of the federal member states had held the second meeting of the Council of Interstate Cooperation from 13 to 16 May in Baidoa. While welcoming the transition plan and recognizing the progress made in discussions on elections and resource-sharing, they urged the Federal Government to provide support for regional forces and indicated their desire to retain the right to seek external support.
On 16 June, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed Ali, made a first official visit to Mogadishu, which resulted in a joint commitment by the two countries to strengthen cooperation, including through joint investments in four seaports in Somalia. The release on 28 June of the senior commander of the Ogaden National Liberation Front, who had been arrested in Somalia and transferred to Ethiopia on 28 August 2017, was a further indication of improved bilateral relations. Prompted by improved relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the President of Somalia,
Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo”, at the invitation of the President of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki, visited Asmara for the first time. On 30 July, the two leaders agreed to establish diplomatic ties and promote bilateral relations.
In Galmudug, a division in the leadership, with State President Ahmed Duale Gelle “Haaf” and Chief State Minister Sheikh Mohamed Shakir on one side, and State Vice-President Mohamed Hashi Abdi “Arrabey” and state assembly speaker Ali Gaal Asir on the other side, deepened owing to a disagreement over the implementation of the power-sharing agreement signed in Mogadishu on 6 December 2017. The key concerns are that the new assembly violates the regional clan balance and that several contentious articles feature in the new State Constitution. The State Vice -President remained in Adado, maintaining a parallel governance structure, while President Haaf and the Chief Minister ran the state government from Dhusamareb, the official capital. On 13 July, the President of Somalia facilitated talks between the two parties in Mogadishu, where they reached a mutual understanding on the necessity to observe the power-sharing agreement. Further negotiations between the two sides, facilitated by the Federal Government, were ongoing. On 22 July, my Special Representative for Somalia and the Commissioner of the Somali Police Force visited Gaalkacyo, where the Somali-owned peace process, along with Gaalkacyo joint police patrols and the work of the peace committee formed by prominent clan elders and civil society representatives, have contributed to establishing peace and restoring security.
Meanwhile, political tensions continued between the President of Jubaland,
Ahmed Mohamed Islam “Madobe”, and the Federal Government. On 13 July in Lower Juba, the newly appointed commander of the Somali National Army 43rd Division, General Ali Mohamed Mohamoud “Bogmadow”, was denied entry into Kismaayo by the Jubaland Administration, which contested his appointment by the Federal Government, claiming that the Jubaland Administration was not consulted.
On 14 August, the newly appointed National Intelligence and Security Agency commander for Jubaland and his deputy were also denied entry into Kisma ayo and deported for the same reason.
Political rivalry intensified in the South-West state ahead of the 17 November 2018 state presidential election. Opposition blocs raised concerns that the President of South-West state, Sharif Hassan, had been planning to hold the election in Barawe,
Lower Shabelle region, instead of Baidoa, Bay region, which is the current seat of the administration. They warned that shifting the venue could split the state assembly and lead to parallel elections. Responding to those concerns, the speaker of the state assembly affirmed that the election would take place in Baidoa and requested the assistance of the United Nations and AMISOM in providing training and temporary shelter for police units tasked with securing the process. The speaker further stated that he would appoint an electoral committee composed of state assembly members to draft the rules of procedure and oversee the election.
Little progress was made on efforts to restart talks between the Federal Government and “Somaliland”. The distancing of the two was triggered by a full transfer on 30 June of air space control from the International Civil Aviation Organization office in Nairobi to Mogadishu, and the Federal Government’s objection letter to donors regarding the “Somaliland” special arrangement — which had been put in place in 2013 alongside the New Deal Compact to ensure a certain share of international support was allocated to “Somaliland”. On 1 July, during the fifty-eighth Independence Day celebrations, President Farmajo reiterated his call for talks between Somalia and “Somaliland”.
The Federal Government, Sweden and the European Union hosted the Somalia Partnership Forum in Brussels on 16 and 17 July. The Forum brought together representatives from 58 countries and 6 international organizations. Key outcomes included the endorsement of the political road map for Somalia by international partners, support for the transition plan, approval of the updated mutual accountability framework and support for the efforts of Somalia to strengthen its resilience against humanitarian shocks, as manifested by the recovery and resilience framework. Participants underscored the need to finalize the electoral model and make progress towards finalizing the constitutional review, ensure greater political participation of women, young people and marginalized groups and build trust through reconciliation. Side events also took place on displacement and durable solutions; women, peace and security; and innovative financing mechanisms for development. The Forum agreed to reconvene in early 2019.