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Draft UN Resolution Calls For UN Political Office In Somalia, Planning For Peacekeeping Force
UNITED NATIONS, April 23, 2008 – Britain circulated a draft U.N. resolution calling for the United Nations to move its Somalia political operation into the conflict-wracked nation, step up efforts to restore peace, and keep planning for a U.N. takeover of peacekeeping from the African Union.
The draft resolution, obtained Wednesday by the Associated Press, calls on all countries in the meantime to provide money, personnel and equipment to fully deploy the AU force now on the ground in Somalia. It is authorized to have 8,000 troops but currently only has 2,600 soldiers from Uganda and Burundi.
In a report last month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the international community to seize "the strategic moment" to build the foundations for peace in Somalia with increased political efforts and a possible series of military steps. As part of the new political momentum, Ban called for the U.N. to move its political office, which is now in Nairobi, Kenya, to Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.
The draft resolution endorses the recommendation and asks Ban to prepare a plan to relocate the U.N. office, including "appropriate security arrangements." It also welcomes Ban's intention to put forward "a United Nations strategy for peace and stability in Somalia" integrating political, security and other U.N. efforts, and calls on the U.N. to promote the drafting of a constitution, a constitutional referendum, and elections in 2009.
On the military front, Ban suggested the possibility of the AU force being replaced by an 8,000-strong multinational force, which could pave the way for the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops who helped Somalia rout the Islamic movement in January 2007. The multinational force could then be replaced by a U.N. peacekeeping force of up to 27,000 soldiers and 1,500 police, he suggested.
The draft resolution welcomes Ban's report on preparing for a possible U.N. force "and requests the secretary-general to continue its planning for deployment of a peacekeeping operation." It says Ban should consider "additional options for the size, configuration, responsibility and proposed area of operation of the (peacekeeping) mission depending on different conditions on the ground."
Somalia has not had a functioning government since clan-based warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siyad Barre in 1991 and then turned on each other, sinking the poverty-stricken nation of 7 million people into chaos.
Its weak transitional government, backed by Ethiopian troops, is struggling to quash the re-emerging Islamic insurgency that has killed thousands of civilians. The insurgents, who U.S. officials have repeatedly linked to al-Qaida, are backed by Ethiopia's archenemy Eritrea.
In December, the Security Council called on Ban to begin planning for the possible deployment of U.N. peacekeepers to replace the AU force. The council was reiterating a request it initially made in August that Ban rejected.
The new draft resolution makes clear that the deployment of a U.N. force will not happen anytime soon, though it will likely happen eventually.
In his report, the secretary-general said the Security Council may also want to consider establishing a maritime task force to protect U.N., AU and humanitarian shipping — and possibly to deter piracy.
The draft resolution calls on states and regional organizations — coordinating with each other and the secretary-general, and with the agreement of Somalia's transitional government — "to take action to protect shipping involved with the transportation and delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia and U.N.-authorized activities."
It asks Ban to support the effort and reiterates the council's support for the contribution of some countries to protect U.N. World Food Program martime convoys. France has provided naval vessels to escort ships carrying WFP humanitarian aid to Mogadishu.
The United States and France are drafting a separate U.N. resolution that would allow countries to chase and arrest pirates off Somalia's coast, responding to a spate of attacks including this week's hijacking of a Spanish tuna boat.
The British draft resolution recalls the council's intention "to take measures against those who seek to prevent or block a peaceful political process," undermine stability, or threaten transitional government institutions or the AU force.
It asks for recommendations within 60 days on targeted measures against such individuals or entities, and it also calls for proposals on measures against violators of the arms embargo.
The draft also expresses "serious concern at the human rights situation in Somalia."
Source: The Associated Press