Somalia Backtracks on Request to End UN Mission: A Shift in Foreign Policy Focus

Somalia retracts request to end UN mission

In Mogadishu, Somalia, the government admits a mistake in a letter requesting the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to leave. The withdrawal was without following proper procedures.

A new letter reveals President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s call to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, requesting a process to transition from a special political mission to a United Nations Country Team.

The previous letter failed to recognize the importance of a transition process. The new letter stresses the need to start planning and appoint a joint technical team to determine the transition process’s details and timeline.

UN Somalia spokesperson in Gaitanis informed VOA that there are exit plans, but the process must be followed, in contrast to the letter from Ahmed Fiqi, Somalia’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister.

The recent development highlights UNSOM’s valuable support to Somali authorities in recent years. UNSOM operates in Somalia under a mandate from the UNSC, and its mission will end once tasks are complete or no longer needed.

Somalia’s decision was expected by Gaitanis, who mentioned ongoing discussions without a set date for implementation. A strategic review two years ago recommended a transition from UNSOM to the UN Country Team, endorsed by the Security Council.

The UN remains committed to supporting Somalia regardless of UNSOM’s status, with agencies, funds, and programs staying in place. Criticisms of UNSOM’s “intrusive” actions in Somalia compromising sovereignty were addressed, emphasizing support for Somali-led stabilization efforts.

In closing, the UN continues to provide support and assistance to Somalia as needed, focusing on helping Somalis in a Somali-led process.


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