UN Security Council Trip - Day 5
We have just returned to New York after a packed final day, including meeting two Presidents, one Prime Minister and at least four foreign ministers.
It has been an ambition of mine to lead the Security Council to Somalia since I started as British Ambassador to the UN five years ago. And I was delighted to realise that ambition on Wednesday.
We met President Hassan Sheikh and Prime Minister Abdiweli, and our message to them was clear: The international community has invested a great deal in Somalia. With that investment comes high expectations. And I have to say, I was impressed by the unity we saw between the President, government, Parliament and the international community. This will be essential to maintain progress in a country recovering from two decades of civil war.
Photo: Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant with the President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the Prime Minster Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed and the Nigerian Deputy Permanent Representative Usman Sarki.
The UK recently reopened our embassy in Mogadishu. I was proud that we hosted the Security Council and leaders from the security sector for a working lunch at the Embassy. The lunch gave all Council members a chance to pay tribute to the extraordinary bravery and sacrifices shown by the AU’s military Mission (AMISOM) and the Somali National Army in their ongoing campaign against Al Shabaab.
Photo: Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant and the Nigerian Deputy Permanent Representative Usman Sarki address press at conclusion of UNSC visit to Somalia, alongside Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Somalia, Nick Kay.
We also had the chance to engage with some inspirational women’s groups doing extraordinary work to promote the participation of women across the board in Somali society.
Photo: Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant chairing a meeting on women peace and security with civil society and the Minister for Women and Human Rights Khadijo Mohamed Diriye.
On Wednesday evening we met President Kenyatta and IGAD Ministers in Nairobi to discuss primarily the crisis in South Sudan. I was heartened that the Security Council and the region are on the same page in dealing with this terrible crisis: the fighting must stop, agreement must be reached, or there will be consequences.
Arriving back in New York I have two main reflections on this trip. Firstly, the Council has to be more proactive in stopping conflict from happening in the first place. We should not wait for a crisis before we act. Secondly, time and time again we heard about the importance of accountability. A conflict can only be finally ended if justice is served: those who are responsible for a crisis must face the consequences of their actions.
I hope you have found my blog of interest. We now return to New York with a very busy to do list, starting with Iraq, Gaza and eastern Ukraine.