Michael Keating, the outgoing United Nations Special Representative for Somalia, highlighted the ongoing challenges of the Horn of Africa nation in his final briefing to the UN Security Council on Thursday – including the latest rift between member states and the federal government.
“On the day that I arrived in Mogadishu in January 2016, I was taken straight to the president’s office to discuss a threat by federal member states to suspend cooperation with the central government,” Keating said. “When I left Mogadishu two days ago the country faced a similar situation. The structural problems that shape Somali politics and security have not changed.”
The leaders of Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Jubaland, Puntland and South West states said Saturday that they were suspending their ties with Mogadishu over security, finance and other issues that threaten the relatively new government and its future stability.
Keating identified four areas of concern in Somalia, beginning with the threat posed by Al Shabaab and other extremists, along with the fragility that can lead to humanitarian crisis in the face of climate shocks and other stressors. Some 2.6 million people remain internally displaced in Somalia.
He also expressed concern over fragmentation in the international community, including the role of AMISOM, and the ongoing “deficit of trust” between central government and federal member states that fuels internal political differences.
“No one should delude themselves about the challenges ahead, many of them structural,” he said.
On October 1, Nicholas Haysom will replace Keating as the SRSG for Somalia and the head of UNSOM.
To view a video of Keating’s full remarks, see this link.