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Monday, October 20, 2014

Press release : EU Council conclusions on Somalia

 - The Council of the European Union adopted the following conclusions: Foreign Affairs Council meeting -Luxembourg, 20 October 2014

1. The EU welcomes the political and security progress made in Somalia since the signing of the Somali Compact during the Brussels New Deal Conference for Somalia in September 2013. The Somali Compact has since provided the framework for the reconstruction of Somalia and has become an important tool to establish the rule of law and security, and promote socio-economic development.

2. The EU welcomes the steps taken to implement the Government's 'Vision 2016: Framework for Action' plan, laying the foundations of a new Somalia and realising the Somali Compact. While the EU welcomes recent progress, further efforts will be needed if the ambitious timeline is to be met. The EU therefore urges the Federal Government of Somalia to maintain momentum, unity of purpose and build on the positive gains made to date. The EU emphasises the importance of establishing interim regional administrations by the end of 2014 and the need for an ongoing and inclusive dialogue between the Federal Government and all regions, that includes participation of civil society and women, and that also tackles more effectively and transparently the fundamental issues of power and resource sharing. This should apply in particular to resource-generating economic sectors, such as infrastructure, extractives and fisheries. The National Independent Electoral Commission and the Boundaries and Federation Commission should be established this year and steps should be taken to deliver the constitutional referendum and conduct a legitimate and inclusive electoral process in 2016. This requires the Parliament to fulfil its legislative duties.

3. The EU underlines that inclusive and accountable political processes are critical to further progress and supports the objective of holding peaceful and transparent national elections in 2016. National reconciliation in Somalia is crucial and the EU welcomes the efforts of the Federal Government and the emerging interim regional administrations, with the support of IGAD and its member states, to support inclusive reconciliation processes at regional level. It urges all political leaders to demonstrate the value of working in partnership. The EU also welcomes the important contribution made by the Somali civil society and diaspora and underlines that women, youth and minority groups must all play an important role in shaping the future of Somalia. The EU remains concerned by continuing reports of humanitarian law and human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, violence against women and children, recruitment and use of children, attacks against journalists and arbitrary detentions. The fight against impunity for these crimes is essential. The EU encourages the Federal Government of Somalia to take concrete measures to implement fully its human rights roadmap adopted in August 2013 and to continue implementing its action plans on children and armed conflict.

4. The EU welcomes the successful outcome of the London security conference on September
18 on the reform of the Somali National Army, and the strong impetus for its further development into a professional, mobile, inclusive and integrated multi-regional force. A plan and timetable for this process are essential. At the same time, the EU welcomes the mapping out of a process for the integration of regional militia into the Somali National Army. Security and stabilisation of the country is of paramount and immediate importance as it is a prerequisite for state-building and development. It is therefore important that the security architecture reflects the political structure and that suitable arrangements are agreed to ensure local law enforcement. The EU further recognises the importance of the establishment of a properly resourced and comprehensive disengaged combatants' programme that is consistent with international human rights standards.

5. The EU commends the work of the EU Training Mission (EUTM) in Somalia, which undertakes advisory, mentoring and training activities, with the aim to developing the Somali National Armed Forces’ structures and their training capacity in Somalia itself. Despite a challenging security situation, the Mission is now fully established in Mogadishu and has trained and mentored 4600 soldiers of the Somali National Army since 2010.

6. The EU commends AMISOM’s efforts alongside the Somali National Army in Operation Indian Ocean which has resulted in significant gains, most recently in the liberation of the Al Shabaab stronghold of Baraawe. It praises the commitment and bravery of both AMISOM and the Somali security forces - both of whom continue to pay a high price extending security in Somalia. The EU recalls its continued strong political and financial support since 2007 to AMISOM’s essential contribution to Somalia's longer-term peace and security. The EU reiterates its strong and urgent call on other partners to seriously contribute to the sustainable and predictable funding of AMISOM and the Somali security forces. It underlines the importance of the Federal Government taking on an increased responsibility and ownership of the security sector. Furthermore, the EU underlines that it is essential that military operations be followed immediately by national efforts to establish or improve governance structures in the recovered areas and by the delivery of basic services, including
security and notes that these stabilisation efforts are an essential part of AMISOM's eventual exit strategy. The EU is, however, concerned by allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by African
Union Forces in Somalia and firmly condemns all crimes of sexual violence in situations of conflict, of whatever nature. It welcomes the commitment of the African Union and the troop contributing countries to investigate these allegations and ensure accountability of their troops. It also underlines the need for AMISOM troops to receive appropriate information and pre-deployment training in relation to human rights principles, including gender equality and sexual violence and be properly informed of the sanctions in place should any abuse be perpetrated.
Furthermore, the EU urges AMISOM to finally establish a Civilian Casualty Tracking, Analysis and Response Cell (CCTARC) as called for repeatedly by the UN Security Council, most recently in its Resolution 2158(2014) of 29 May 2014.

7. The EU welcomes the significant decline in piracy activity in the Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean and encourages the Federal Government to further increase its contribution to this success. However, networks supporting piracy are still operating and the threat of piracy remains. The EU continues to assume its leading role in the fight against piracy and contributing to tackling its root causes, including through its CSDP missions as well as in its capacity as Chair of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) in 2014. The EU intends to continue the deterrence and disruption of piracy through Operation EUNAVFOR ATALANTA until December 2016. The CSDP Mission EUCAP Nestor, in cooperation with other actors, including the Maritime Security Programme and the Critical Maritime Routes Programme, is also playing an important role in reinforcing maritime security capacities in the region and in Somalia, including by contributing to a pertinent rule of law framework in Somalia, thus reflecting the EU’s comprehensive approach to maritime security. The EU is deeply concerned by the news of the recent release of a pirate leader, in
Mogadishu, and reiterates the urgent need for the Somali authorities to end impunity of piracy network leaders and strengthen the rule of law. The prosecution of piracy leaders remains a prerequisite for the disruption of piracy networks’ operational capabilities. Therefore the EU calls on Somali authorities to take concrete measures towards the establishment of such legislative framework pertaining to piracy and maritime crime. The EU also looks forward to obtaining more clarity on the National Maritime Coordination Committee. The EU also notes that new threats such as trafficking in human beings and drugs, illegal trade in charcoal, smuggling of migrants and proliferation of small arms and light weapons require increasing attention. It welcomes efforts in the UN to tackle them and invites the Federal Government of Somalia and other actors in the region to act in support of these
efforts. The EU calls upon charcoal importing countries to ascertain its origin.

8. The EU urges the Federal Government to fight corruption and tighten financial governance procedures in order to improve transparency and accountability of the government's finances which will increase public and donor confidence. In this context, it welcomes the establishment of the Financial Governance Committee and calls for its urgent strengthening. The EU welcomes the establishment of funds under the Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility (SDRF) as an important step towards the objective of achieving greater alignment of international financing with the Compact priorities and increased Somali ownership. The EU further reiterates its support to the efforts of strengthening the Somali Government’s Public Financial Mechanism Systems as an important building block in establishing a roadmap for future budget support.

 9. The EU expresses deep concern at the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Somalia due to drought, continued conflict, restricted flow of commercial goods into areas affected by military operations and surging food prices. and urges all parties to allow safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to all areas by humanitarian agencies. In addition to responding to the urgent humanitarian situation, the international community should consider ways to support longer-term resilience-building and development in Somalia, that would generate employment, improve livelihoods and contribute to sustainable peace and security

10. The EU commends the efforts of the UN SRSG to Somalia in coordinating and facilitating a comprehensive international response. The EU also commends the work of the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa and his role in galvanising engagement from Somalia's
neighbours.

11. The EU looks forward to the first Ministerial High Level Partnership Forum on Somalia in Copenhagen in November, to take stock of joint progress and challenges since the New Deal Conference in Brussels and agree on the necessary actions and steps required to achieve the Somali Compact goals by 2016. The EU stresses the continued importance of the Somali Compact and its implementation for the reconstruction of Somalia and reiterates that the EU remains committed to supporting the development of a stable, accountable and prosperous Somalia over the long term.
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