The UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) until August as the Horn of Africa country continues down its road towards political recovery and increased security.
The new extension approved by the Security Council will now see UNSOM’s mandate expire on Aug. 7, 2015.
The resolution reaffirms the 15-nation UN body’s “respect” for Somalia’s “sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity” while allowing the United Nations and African Union (AU) to review the dynamics of a temporary surge of African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops.
Moreover, the Security Council recalled its request for both the UN and AU to set out a series of recommendations for the next steps in the military campaign against Al-Shabaab — the Islamist extremist group that has waged a long-standing terrorist campaign against the Somali government.
In a recent briefing of the Security Council, Nicholas Kay, the special representative of the UN secretary-general for Somalia and head of UNSOM, said that momentum had been regained on efforts to achieve political progress in the country, pointing to work by federal, regional and local leaders, and parliamentarians to build a State through dialogue and reconciliation, and top-level commitment to deliver Somalia’s Vision 2016 plan.
At the same time, however, the special representative conceded that there was “still a long way to go,” adding that with so much at stake between now and 2016, “we can expect Al-Shabaab to do everything it can to derail the political process.”
Just over the weekend, in fact, Yusuf Muhammad Dirir, a Member of the Federal Parliament, was shot and killed along with his driver while another MP, Abdullahi Boss Ahmed, was wounded in the same attack.
Acting on the recommendations of UN Secretary-General Ban Kii Moon , the Security Council in May 2013 decided to establish the UNSOM by June 3, 2013 for an initial period of 12 months, providing the United Nations “good offices” functions — and a range of strategic policy advice — in support of the Somali government’s peace and reconciliation process.