19 May 2007 04:16

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  • [SW Country] (M2 Comm ) Statement By H.E. Ambassador Abdulmejid Hussein Permanent Representative Of The Federal Democratic Republic Of Ethiopia :Posted on [25 Oct 2001]

STATEMENT BY H.E. AMBASSADOR ABDULMEJID HUSSEIN PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE    FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS OPEN DEBATE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL ON THE SITUAITON IN SOMALIA UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK 

19  OCTOBER, 2001 

Mr. President,

I would like to take this opportunity first to congratulate you, Sir, on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for the month of October.  We also welcome the fact that this open debate is taking place under your presidency.  I also wish to thank last month's President, Ambassador Levitte of France, for the able way in which he led the Council's work.  It goes without saying that both Ireland and France are friends not only of Ethiopia, but also of Africa.  I just want to note that for the record.

Mr. President, 

Like other delegations before me, I welcome the Prime Minister of Somalia, Mr. Ali Khalif Galaydh.  I am encouraged by the content of his statement.

A lot has been said here, and a lot has not been said.  I would like to dwell more on the few things that have not been said.

If we look at the whole process that led to the Arta Peace Conference on Somalia, we see that there were, as some have indicated, previous processes but as has also been indicated, these processes were also very genuine.  They took place in Djibouti.  In fact, the first one on Somalia took place in 1991.  It was held in Djibouti.  Others were held in Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Libya and Yemen.  In Ethiopia's view, all these were genuine attempts to resolve the Somali question in the interest of the people of Somalia.  We believed that they paved the way for what happened at Arta.

I want that also to be on the record, because some seem not to have that in their record, to judge from what they have stated.  At least that was the implication not by many, but by one or two speakers.

Ethiopia fully supported the Arta process from the beginning.  I want it to be on the Council's record that even where the meeting took place was symbolic — the air-conditioned tent was provided by Ethiopia.  It cost us more than $250,000.  To many this may not seem like a lot of money, but for a poor country like Ethiopia it was.  We continue to support the Arta process.  We believe that that process was a step forward for peace and reconciliation in Somalia.

Mr. President, 

We worked very hard so that this process would not unravel.  In fact, if we look at the IGAD member States, we see that Ethiopia played a very important, and at crucial times, leading role to ensure that all were on board.

IGAD's last position on this matter was adopted in Khartoum last November, when a head of state from Somalia took part in one of its meetings for the first time after 10 years' absence.  So that there is no confusion, I would like to cite the gist of IGAD's position, contained in a resolution stating that the heads of State and Government:

"1.    Affirm that the Arta Peace Conference that resulted in the establishment of the Transitional Government for Somalia, constituted a major achievement in the Somali peace process;

"2. Urge the Transitional Government and all parties and administrations of Somalia to create the environment that would bring into the process those that did not participate at the Arta Conference with the objective of widening and deepening the process of national reconciliation;

"3.  Insist that the peace process in Somalia must continue and be completed through dialogue and not by resorting to the use of force;

"4.Encourage Somalia's neighbors and the current Chairman of IGAD to establish a mechanism that would enable them to continue to assist the Somalis to achieve full peace, national reconciliation, and unity".

This is a point also taken in the Secretary-General's report.

 The resolution continues: 

"5.Affirm the need for all necessary measures to be taken to ensure that the territory of Somalia is not used as a springboard by groups inimical to the peace and security of the sub-region;

"6Reaffirm IGAD's commitment to the unity and territorial integrity of Somalia;

"7 Welcome the participation of the Transitional Government of Somalia in the deliberations and activities of IGAD, bearing in mind that regular and continuing evaluation of progress toward peace and national reconciliation in the country will be carried out;

"8. Urgently call upon the international community to support the rehabilitation in Somalia through direct assistance to the Transitional Government and the regions which had established peace and stability through self administration, as long as they are committed to the peace process" ( S/2001/120,annex.II)

Well, the implication of this summit position, which is the position of the region, including Somalia, is that if the Transitional Government has to be in place, then others who did not take part have to be on board.  In fact an IGAD delegation was sent to Mogadishu to discuss this issue with the TNG and to continue this reconciliation process.  At that time, for reasons known only to itself, the TNG rejected this.  It referred to these groups as rebels, as warlords, and would not talk to them.

What happened as a result? Others did the same.  They expressed rejection of the TNG; they said there was no such thing as a TNG, and therefore it was just another faction.  So that TNG could go beyond this.

Mr. President,

We have always been transparent.  We have always been frank.  I will not change that position today.  I want the Council to know that for us in the region — in Ethiopia, in particular, and I can only speak for Ethiopia – we see that the Transitional Government itself is not of one mind.  We believe that there are basically three groups.  There are the extremists of Al-Ittihad, Al-Islah and the Muslim Brotherhood.  There are also those who are ready for reconciliation.  The first group, by the way, used to have what were called the Islamic courts and their militia, and they had longstanding, strong financial institutions through a number of activities.  There is no need to go into the details; I think most members of the Council are familiar with them. There is a second group that is ready for reconciliation, but it lacks the financial and military muscle.  There is a third group that shuttles between those two, and is used by either.  Hence, when we talk with the TNG, there is no single group with which one can continuously take up the issues, as we have done. 

We are ready to help in this situation.  Norway suggested that Ethiopia should try to facilitate and use its influence.  We will accept this suggestion.  we are ready to do it. But when we speak of these realities, some in the TNG – I will not say "all" – do not like it; they are not comfortable with it.  I would even say that there are others who one could say are more Catholic than the Pope; they even go beyond the TNG.  We will not accept this.

We are not partial to anyone, whether the TNG, the Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council, "Somaliland", "Puntland" or any other group.  Ethiopia is not for the TNG; Ethiopia is not for the SRRC; Ethiopia is not for "Somaliland", it is not for "Puntland". It is for Somalia and the people of Somalia.

At the moment we do not see, as the Untied States representative once said, any group or entity that has the political legitimacy and the support of everybody throughout Somalia.  The Arta peace process is the best of the processes so far.  But it is a still incomplete process that IGAD speaks of.  By the way, the Transitional National Assembly and the Charter also speak about what came out of Arta.  Even those who claim that we should not speak to this one or that one are not right.  That is not what the Arta process said.  We have the Charter; we have the positions.

Some have tried to pretend that the Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council is supported by one country, that one country established it, that one country is behind it.  That reference – let us take away all the pretences – is to Ethiopia.  This is because that group met in a place called Awassa in southern Ethiopia.  It was not the first time that  Ethiopia had facilitated meetings for Somalis.  They have met many times; we simply facilitated this.

The Foreign Minister of Somalia, Mr. Ismail Mohamoud Hurre, said of the SRRC last June:

" Ethiopia is open to everyone.  Many Somalis come to Addis Ababa and discuss matters with the Ethiopians.  The SRRC are part of that.  We are not averse to Ethiopia carrying on discussions with them, as it is all part of the reconciliation and peace process".

That was what the Foreign Minister of the TNG said. 

Today the Prime Minister, Mr. Ali Khalif Galaydh, said that the Somali Government would welcome every positive effort by the neighbouring countries and the world community that can facilitate this process.  He went on to say that they were prepared to engage those outside the Arta process through sustained dialogue and negotiations.  We welcome this statement, but I do not welcome indications by delegations that any support for the SRRC or any connection to it is like revitalizing warlordism. We do not find this at all helpful for the reconciliation process.  Nobody, least of all Ethiopia, which has the longest border with Somalia, wants to revive that.

The biggest problems of the last ten years have fallen on Ethiopia, a poor country.  This includes terrorism, as well as taking up the burdens of our people, our brothers and sisters, who came from across the border. Next to Somalia, the largest concentration of Somalis in the Horn of Africa or anywhere in the world is in Ethiopia, where there are over 5 million Somalis, occupying more than one quarter of Ethiopian territory. One of the federated states includes more than one quarter of Ethiopia.  That is where I myself come from.  I am an ethnic Somali.  There are more than 5 million of us.  So, next to the Somalis of Somalia, the Ethiopians are the ones who are most affected and want the stability of Somalia.

However, our allegiance and support is for the people of Somalia.  The TNG must encompass all Somalis, including those who, in the words of the IGAD summit, have not been part of the process.  The Secretary-General's report and the Council on previous occasions have said that those who are not already on board have to be brought into the process.

Should we wait until all of them accept the peace process? No. we should engage those who are ready for reconciliation and peace, whether it is the Somalia Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC) or any other group or faction outside the TNG.  We should disregard and isolate those who are not for peace.  Somalia's reconciliation process will not be complete if we do not engage all these groups that I have mentioned. 

Mr. President, 

There are one or two more points I would like to touch on before I conclude.  We would like to call on the Security Council to enforce the arms embargo against Somalia.  This has been stated by some.  We have in the past brought attention to the fact that arms have been shipped into Somalia by air and by sea.  This has made the situation in Somalia much worse and as a result we have been victims of terrorism carried out on our soil, deep inside Ethiopia, committed by groups coming from Somalia – Al-Itihad was one of them.  They did not hide their identity and claimed responsibility for what they had done: explosions in several public buildings and mining and attacking rail and road transport.  These groups did not cease to exist because it suddenly dawned on them that what they were doing was not good.  They were stopped – at least until now – by actions taken by Ethiopia to defend itself after it was attacked.  We took action in 1997 by destroying the terrorist bases inside Somalia.  One of them was at Luuq.  At least 26 multinationals were from outside the region.  I can recall a number of them, most of whom are part of the same groups that make up Al-Qaida.  Some may try to sell the idea that Al-Qaida and international terrorist groups are not in Somalia; we disagree.  We have ample evidence.  As we speak, my Government is taking action to provide security for more than one foreign embassy in Adds Ababa, as a result of threats made by these groups.  We are not going to be like those who take ostrich-like actions.  Some of you can afford to do that, as you are not neighbours of Somalia but live thousands of kilometers away.  In that tranquility, you can make statements that appear fine but, in reality, do not help the situation.

Mr. President,

I would now like to touch upon one very serious issue, one of immediate concern to ordinary Somalis – a matter of life and death.  Dire humanitarian needs can be due to several factors, but arise mainly as a result of the failure of the gu rains.  These are the main rains that usually come in summer.  Hundreds of thousands in Bakool, Bay, Gedo, Hiiraan and many parts of the northeast of Somalia need immediate assistance.  We call upon the international community to assist if a tragedy is to be avoided there.

In Ethiopia, we already have, in our province in Warder, in the Degehabur, in Gode, and the surrounding areas, the thousands who have crossed into the Ethiopian part of the Somali region.  These areas of Ethiopia themselves have also suffered.  To the best of our ability, we are trying to assist in this particular case.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I would say, let us be positive.  Look at some delegaitons, such as Norway, who have also accepted what I would call the legitimate concerns of neighbouring countries.  There is nobody to take action when such things as have happened several times take place over a border that is nearly 2,000 kilometers long.  Another suffering country is Kenya.  They will speak for themselves.  Djibouti also has a border of about 70 kilometers with a very stable part of Somalia.  Nonetheless, they have also been affected in one way or another.

So, when you look at this, I would appeal to the Council that the interest of the Somali people in total should be seen.  That is why we welcome all the positive steps that will be taken by the TNG within its capacity.  I think we should not have any delusions that they are in a position, for example, to take actions against terrorism, even if they wished to, because, as I have said, there are some within the Government that are part of that problem.

I thank you

 


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