Situation in Somalia - Report of the Secretary-General (S/2021/485)

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I. Introduction

1. The present report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 16 of Security Council resolution 2540 (2020) and paragraph 41 of resolution 2568 (2021). It provides updates on the implementation of those resolutions, including on the mandates of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS). The report covers significant developments in Somalia from 10 February to 7 May 2021.

II. Political, security and economic overview

A. Political developments

2. The political stalemate in the electoral process continued to affect the stability of Somalia. International partners intensified their efforts to assist the Federal Government of Somalia and the federal member states in overcoming the impasse regarding implementation of the electoral agreement of 17 September 2020. A technical committee comprising representatives of the Federal Government and the federal member states met in Baidoa, Bay Region, on 16 February and developed proposals to overcome the three contentious issues, namely the composition of the electoral management bodies, the selection of the “Somaliland” repres entatives and the management of elections in the Gedo Region of Jubbaland.

3. A summit between the Federal Government and the federal member states for the final validation of the proposals was initially scheduled for 18 February but was not held owing to disagreement over the agenda, participation and the venue. Following extensive efforts by international partners, the Presidents of all the federal member states arrived in Mogadishu in anticipation of a summit with the federal leadership between 9 and 18 March. While Jubbaland and Puntland desired to widen the summit agenda, the Federal Government rejected preconditions. Subsequently, the President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo”, the leaders of South-West State, Hirshabelle and Galmudug and the Governor of Banaadir met on 22 and 23 March without the participation of Jubbaland and Puntland.

4. On 27 March, facilitated by international partners, Mr. Farmajo met the leaders of all five federal member states on 3, 4 and 7 April for closed-door consultations on the agenda of the summit. However, the meeting ended without agreement. On 7 April, the federal Minister for Information announced that the talks had broken down, accusing the Presidents of Puntland and Jubbaland of blocking them. In response, both Presidents publicly reiterated their willingness to re -engage in the talks. On 10 April, international partners urged the leaders to resume dialogue, reiterating that a parallel process, partial elections or new initiatives leading to mandate extensions would be detrimental to the stability of Somalia.

5. After the talks between the Federal Government and the federal member states broke down, the House of the People convened on 12 April and passed the Special Electoral Bill for Federal Elections, which replaced the agreement of 17 September with a one-person, one-vote electoral process, to be conducted within two years, and extended the terms of the Parliament and the President of Somalia by the same duration. The vote was held after the Police Commander of Banaadir, Sadik Omar Hassan “Sadik John ”, declared the parliamentary session illegitimate and attempted to block access to the Parliament building; he was subsequently dismissed by the Federal Police Commander.

6. Mr. Farmajo signed the Special Electoral Bill into law on 13 April. On 19 April, he visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo to meet the Chair of the African Union, Félix Tshisekedi, and requested the African Union to take a leading role in facilitating a Somali-owned, Somali-led engagement process leading to elections. On 8 May, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission appointed the former President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, as his High Representative for Somalia.

7. On 20 March, a group of opposition figures, including members of the Council of Presidential Candidates, the Presidents of Puntland and Jubbaland and the Speaker of the Upper House, established the National Salvation Forum with the objective of ensuring consensus-based elections and national unity and protecting the stability and security of the country. The Forum has strongly rejected the law of 13 April and continued to call for dialogue.

8. Amid mounting political tension, fighting broke out in Mogadishu on 25 April between security forces loyal to the Federal Government and military personnel with ties to the opposition. On 26 April, the Prime Minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, called for a ceasefire in Mogadishu and appealed for dialogue so that security could return to the city. On 27 April, Mr. Roble and the Presidents of Galmudug, Hirshabelle and South-West State made separate statements, opposing the extension of the federal mandates and calling for a return to dialogue on the basis of the agreement of 17 September.

9. On 27 April, Mr. Farmajo addressed the nation, stating that he would engage the House of the People on 1 May to “gain its endorsement” for elections based “purely” on the agreement of 17 September and the recommendations made by the technical committee at Baidoa on 16 February. On 28 April, Mr. Roble met the Presidents of Galmudug and Hirshabelle, as well as representatives of the Council of Presidential Candidates, to discuss ways to deescalate tension in Mogadishu. On 1 May, during an extraordinary session, the House of the People rescinded the Special Electoral Bill, in effect returning to the agreement of 17 September as the basis for the electoral process. In his address to the House, Mr. Farmajo entrusted responsibility for organizing the process to the Prime Minister.

10. On 2 May, the Council of Presidential Candidates welcomed Mr. Roble’s lead in implementing the electoral agreement and managing electoral security. It urged him to maintain neutrality and work to implement the electoral process as soon as possible, in a credible and transparent manner. On the same day, Mr. Roble extended invitations to the signatories of the agreement of 17 September for a consultative meeting on 20 May, after Ramadan, to overcome the electoral impasse. On 3 May, the First Vice-President of Jubbaland, Mohamud Sayid Aden, confirmed that Jubbaland would participate in the meeting to be held on 20 May.

11. On 5 May, following consultations to resolve the security challenges related to the current political crisis, Mr. Roble and the opposition Council of Pr esidential Candidates reached a 10-point agreement on the disengagement of opposing armed forces and their return to their respective bases.

12. In a separate development, on 24 March, the Minister of Security of Jubbaland, Abdirashid Hassan Abdinoor “Janan”, surrendered to senior Federal Government officials in Beled Xaawo in the Gedo Region. The President of Jubbaland immediately dismissed the Minister from his state functions. It was later reported that, on 23 March, acting on the recommendation of the Attorney General, the Banaadir regional court had dropped past charges against the Minister for human rights violations, including torture, arbitrary arrest and corruption.

13. On 6 May, the Federal Government announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with Kenya, following facilitation by Qatar. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya took note of the announcement, expressing hope for “further normalization of relations with regard to trade, communication, transportation, people -to-people relations and cultural exchanges”.