Statement by Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the Debate on the Situation in Somalia

Baki İlkin 20.03.2009
Mr. President,

I would like to join the previous speakers in thanking Mr. Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, for his comprehensive briefing. I welcome and thank the distinguished Foreign Minister of Somalia for his presentation. And, my thanks also go to the Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union.

We welcome the Secretary General's reports on the situation in Somalia as well as on combating against piracy. Both reports indeed have detailed and useful information about the ongoing developments in the country. Based on these reports I shall limit my remarks to three topics.

The first one is on the political developments. Turkey welcomes the election of Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed as the new President. Likewise, we welcome the appointment of Prime Minister Omar Sharmarke and his new government.

Turkey has been supporting the Djibouti peace process and hopes that the recent developments herald a better and brighter future for the war-torn people of Somalia. We would like to see formation of a Unity Government as the willingness of the Somali people to shape the destiny of their own country.

That said, at this critical moment, as friends of Somalia, it is also a duty for us to underline the serious difficulties awaiting the new government. However, while doing so, we should be careful not to create an unnecessarily pessimistic mood in and about Somalia which could be counter-productive.

Indeed, the unprecedented challenges and difficulties that lie ahead for the Government of Somalia cannot be ignored or denied. It is exatly for this reason that we have to empower the new Government with our support and assistance so that it can address these challenges. For that, first and foremost, it needs financial assistance.

In return, the new Government should take rapid and effective steps towards the implementation of the Djibouti agreement through national reconciliation and political dialogue. It has to pursue an outreach policy vis-a-vis the other groups with a view to including them in this process to the extent possible.

In the short to medium term, with the support of its partners and friends, it should have proper security and police forces. Moreover, sustainable programmes to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate should be implemented. Since the Government cannot operate on donations and foreign assistance it has to seek means to generate revenues for the immediate expenses of the state. Swift action is also required for the rehabilitation or the re-establishment of the judicial and correction systems in Somalia. Human rights violations and other humanitarian issues, especially impunity have to be addressed.

Mr President,

For the Government to achieve the targets on its agenda, it has to feel itself secure. This brings me to my second point which is about the need for regional or international peace-keeping forces.

Turkey highly commends AMISOM's contribution to peace and stability in Somalia. We praise the dedication and the courage of Ugandan and Burundi forces serving peace under most difficult conditions. They deserve our full support.

Turkey has been one of the co-sponsors of UNSC Resolution 1863 (2009) which envisaged the deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation in Somalia, subject to the further decision of the Council. In doing so, Turkey sincerely hopes that this deployment would materialize soon. Yet, the devlopments show that we might face certain delays. We may have to rely solely on AMISOM for sometime to come. Therefore it becomes imperative not only to raise the capabilities of AMISOM forces but also provide the necessary funds which AMISOM needs. In that sense, Turkey welcomes the intention of the Secretary General to convene a Donor Conference for the establishment of a trust fund. Turkey will contribute to this fund.

Mr President,

The third point I would like to mention is the acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia which remain to be a source of concern for the international community. To operate in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at the sea, the Turkish Government has allocated a frigate with air assets. This frigate has joined the international efforts under the Combined Task Force-151 (CTF-151) which has been recently launched. Turkey is also a founding member of the Contact Group, and actively participates in the Working Groups formed under the Contact Group. Having said this, we should continue to concentrate and cooperate on the elimination of the the root causes of piracy which are embedded in Somalia.

Mr. President,

Somalia finally has a Unity Government operating from Mogadishu. For this Government to be successful, first and foremost, the people of Somalia should develop full faith in it. We must help the Somali Government develop such an image to gain the confidence of its own people.

Thank you Mr.President.