US Supports Somalia’s Security Reforms

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Saying that Somalia remains a fragile state amid its impressive gains, the United States of America today announced it will provide nearly $40 million in additional funding to support development, stabilization, and security sector efforts necessary to consolidate Somalia’s significant security gains.

In his remarks at the London II Conference on Somalia, Deputy Secretary William J. Burns says the US has responsibility to support their efforts in security reforms.

He points out that overcoming grievances hardened over decades of conflict will take time. Thus, it is essential for the UNited States and the international community to increase support to Somalia’s security sector reform.

“So long as it does, and so long as Somalia’s friends and partners maintain their focus and support, we can be confident about Somalia’s future.” – Mr. Burns

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Builders construct a school in Wadajir district, Mogadishu, as part of humanitarian efforts by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). The construction of the school is made possible with funds from the Government of Denmark.

Photo: UN

al-Shabaab continues to try to tear Somalia apart

Accoridng to Mr. Burns, the presence of extremists for one, particularly the al-shabaab remains a challenge in consolidating its security reforms.

“But while we work together to build up Somalia, al-Shabaab continues to try to tear it apart.” – Mr. Burns

He says when the world tried to partner and address Somalia’s devastating famine in 2011, al-Shabaab senselessly denied access to relief workers and food assistance, leading to the gratuitous death of tens of thousands of Somali men, women, and children in areas it controlled.

He notes that the heinous attack on the Benadir Court Complex in Mogadishu earlier this month serves as a reminder of the brutality of Al Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab militants are infamous for deliberately

blocking the delivery of food assistance in an area of south central Somalia which is under direct or indirect control of al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab militant group has been compared with the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan because of its opinions and beliefs.

3 areas of security sector reform that deserve greater attention over the next year.

The US commends the Government of Somalia for releasing its comprehensive National Security Plan.

Mr. Burns emphasizes that it is now incumbent upon Somalia’s international partners to support this Somali-led process, improve coordination on military and police assistance, and reduce duplication of effort.

In addition, to ensure the long-term sustainability, effectiveness, and accountability of its military forces, Mr. Burns highlighted the Government of Somalia must gradually assume greater responsibility for troop salary payment, in line with rising revenues.

Second, Mr. Burns indicates that security sector reform must include the development of an independent, credible, and transparent justice sector.

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Somalis gather around a well under reconstruction by the African Union mission, AMISOM, in the district of Hamar Jabjab, Mogadishu. The new well will make the water both safer and more easily accessible for the district’s residents. UN PHOTO

The Government of Somalia rightly recognizes this as a priority and so should its international partners, he added.

Third, the US fully supports Somali government efforts to demobilize, disarm, and reintegrate those who reject al-Shabaab.

“We look forward to joining the United Nations and the Government of Japan in supporting the Disengaged Fighter Program, and we urge other partners to do the same.” – Mr. Burns

Finally, Mr. Burns points that as the accelerate the security sector reform efforts, the world cannot lose sight of the importance of protecting vulnerable populations, strengthening accountability and civilian control, and building respect for human rights and humanitarian law.

He says these are all essential prerequisites for legitimate and effective security institutions that have the trust and confidence of the Somali people.

Political dialogue and stabilization are essential to improving security in Somalia over the long-term.

The US commends President Hassan Sheikh’s recent visit to Puntland and Prime Minister Saaid’s nationwide listening tour and outreach to local and regional leaders throughout the country.

Mr. Burns emphasizes that to allow political reconciliation to stay on track in the midst of active efforts by spoilers to derail it, the international community must increase its support to Somalia’s security sector reform as well.

the gravity of obstacles in our way, and the importance of our unwavering commitment to the stabilization and development of Somalia.

Somalia makes impressive gains in political and security arena

Mr. Burns says the fate of Somalia’s transition was very much in place.

He acknowleds the courageous efforts of the Somali people and the sustained and unified support of AMISOM, its partners and the broader international community for the making of ‘new’ Somalia.

“The initial transition has come to an end, a newly elected government is firmly in place, and dialogue about the future of Somalia is underway.” – Mr. Burns

In January, for the first time in over two decades, the United States announced its formal recognition of the Government of Somalia.

Conseuently, the US continues to deepen its ties and partnership with President Hassan Sheikh and his government.

With regards to piracy, the successful efforts to combat piracy in the Horn of Africa show that hard work and effective collaboration can yield results.

“Thanks to our shared efforts.” – Mr. Burns

The world saw a 75 percent decline in overall pirate attacks in 2012 compared with 2011, and a 90 percent reduction in hostage taking.

US Recognizes new functioning democratic government of Somalia

With the recent creation of a functioning democratic government in 2012, the United States of America announced for the first time since 1991 that it is recogninzing the Government of Somalia.

In her remarks with President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud after their meeting in Washington DC, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said it is a great privilege for the US to be welcoming President Hassan Sheikh and his delegation at the State Department.

The US wanted to work together, not only with the people of Somalia but with governments across the region, the international community, and other likeminded friends.

In early 2009, the final Transitional Federal Government began its work.

Somali security forces, supported by the African Union Mission in Somalia, and troops from Uganda and Burundi and now Kenya and Djibouti began to drive al-Shabaab out of cities and towns.

Humanitarian aid finally began getting to the people in need in the country.

The US provided more than $650 million in assistance to the African Union Mission in Somalia, more than 130 million to Somalia’s security forces.

In the past two years, the US have given nearly $360 million in emergency humanitarian assistance and more than $45 million in development-related assistance to help rebuild Somalia’s economy. And we have provided more than $200 million throughout the Horn of Africa for Somali refugee assistance.

Both countries have particular concerns about the dangers facing displaced people, especially women, who continue to be vulnerable to violence, rape, and exploitation.

Somalia elects new president

In September 2012, one week after the historic selection of a new leader in war-torn Somalia, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was inaugurated in the capital of Mogadishu.

Reports say Mohamud won the election against outgoing President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed by the legislative vote of 190 to 79.

The inauguration ceremony was reportedly participated by prominent regional leaders including the PM of Ethiopia and president of Djibouti.

New Provisional Constitution for Somalia

In August 2012, Somalia’s National Constitutional Assembly has approved a Provisional Constitution in historic vote.

Reports say the approval of the new constitution is a key milestone towards ending the country’s current transitional period.

Delegates to the Somalia’s National Constituent Assembly is a 825-member constituent assembly, with delegates representing Somali clans and civil society.

The leaders reportedly debated the constitution for nine days and approved the constitution with 621 for, 13 against and 11 abstained from voting.

The National Constituent Assembly represented the diverse concerns of the nation as it reviewed and ultimately approved the Provisional Constitution.

Somalia has been in constant wars for past two past decades since the collapse of the Somali state in January 21, 1991. Millions of lives were lost and countless number of people had been internally displaced.

Somalia is the country worst affected by a severe drought that has ravaged large swaths of the Horn of Africa, leaving an estimated 11 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.