Magazine article UN Chronicle

UNOSOM II Mandate Renewed, Humanitarian Aspect Stressed

Magazine article UN Chronicle

UNOSOM II Mandate Renewed, Humanitarian Aspect Stressed

Article excerpt

The mandate of the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II) was renewed by the Security Council until 30 September, subject to a review no later than 29 July, after which the Council might consider other options regarding its mandate and future operations.

By unanimously adopting resolution 923 (1994) on 31 may, the Council decided that the review should be based on the Secretary-General's report on the humanitarian mission carried out by UNOSOM II and on the political and security situation in Somalia and progress made in achieving national reconciliation.

"The Somali people deserve a chance", the Secretary-General said in a 24 May report (S/1994/614) to the Council. He recommended the mandate extension despite the negative assessment of the political and security situation in Somalia. What was required from the Somali people, he pointed out, was evidence of serious and productive pursuit of the reconciliation process, strict observance of the cease-fire and cooperation with UNOSOM in preventing the recurrence of clashes and resolving local clan and factional conflicts.

The Secretary-General stated that the mandate renewal would signify Member States' determination to fulfil the UN vision of assisting Somalia towards political reconciliation, national reconstruction and peace.

In resolution 923, the Council also demanded that all parties in Somalia refrain from any acts of intimidation or violence against personnel engaged in humanitarian or peace-keeping work in the country. They were strongly urged to cooperate fully with UNOSOM II, carry out their commitments and implement the agreements they had signed, including those relating to voluntary disarmament, and pursue without delay the negotiations aimed at achieving national reconciliation.

Expressing appreciation to Member States which had provided troops or assistance, the Council underlined the continuing importance of UNOSOM II having the necessary troops, civilian personnel, equipment and financial and logistical support to carry out its mandate effectively.

Appreciation was also expressed to States which had extended humanitarian assistance or supported the Somali justice and police programmes, which should be accelerated, and such contributions were encouraged further on an urgent basis.

The Council also reaffirmed States' obligations to implement fully the embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment t imposed by resolution 733 (1992).

Avoiding the abyss

In his 24 May report, the Secretary-General also said: "Deciding to phase out the Somalia operation would signify abandonment of that vision and the risk of the country sliding back into the abyss from which it was barely rescued less than two years ago."

He emphasized that his recommendations were predicated on the assumption that Somali leaders would prove willing to pursue the path to political reconciliation. Should that not be the case, he stated that he would not rule out recommending the force's withdrawal. As such, a comprehensive contingency withdrawal plan was being formulated, because in the event of a failure of the political reconciliation process and/or a large-scale resumption of fighting, Member States' military and financial support for UNOSOM would surely diminish or cease altogether.

In reviewing recent political developments, the report stated that a defining moment in UNOSOM's "complex and stormy" history was reached on 24 March, when the Nairobi Declaration was signed by General Mohamed Farah Aidid, Chairman of the Somali National Alliance (SNA), and Ali Mahdi, Spokesman of the "Group of 12".

The Nairobi Declaration called for: convening of a national reconciliation conference on 15 May to elect a President and Vice-Presidents, and to appoint a Prime Minister; and completing and reviewing the formation of local authorities and establishing them, where necessary, as a basis for regional autonomy and respect for community rights. …

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