Thank you very much, Under Secretary General. And let me join in congratulating both the new President and the new Prime Minister. We very much appreciated the President’s statement outlining your government’s six objectives, and we stand ready to assist you in fulfilling them. I also want to thank former-President Sheikh Sharif for a smooth and peaceful transition, the first in decades for the Somali people.
Let me make three areas of emphasis that deserve our attention quickly. First, we have to continue improving security. The United States has strongly supported AMISOM and the Somali National forces, and we will work closely with the new government as it takes more of a leading role. We will maintain our support for the security sector and focus on sustainable and comprehensive reform. As more areas are liberated from al-Shabaab, the government will need to establish police forces and courts. And we view the Joint Security Committee as a promising mechanism for coordinating efforts between the Somali Government and international partners.
Second, stabilization efforts must continue across the country. Although there has been encouraging progress so far under the National Stabilization Plan, more than 2 million people in Somalia still need lifesaving humanitarian assistance. Many more face hunger and malnutrition and can’t get basic services, such as clean water and adequate electricity. And the former combatants, who are defecting from al-Shabaab will need to be reintegrated into local communities.
In addition, we have to continue to keep focus on the refugee population. Kenya has been extremely generous in sponsoring hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees, and we have to continue to work overtime to relocate those refugees back in their homes.
So meeting these challenges will require the government to work with local communities as well as the international efforts to really focus, especially on southern and central Somalia, and that will give us a chance to try to provide enough stability for the government to get about its business.
And finally, with respect to the government, transparency and accountability must be required. We urge the new government to appoint a cabinet of people who will work to promote the interests of the Somali people and respond to their needs and maintain the confidence of international donors so future collaboration can continue.
So we look to the government to build transparent and accountable institutions.
Now, what’s been accomplished in Somalia – and I remember being in this room and other rooms over the last four UNGAS and hearing a lot of despair about whether or not there could be a positive outcome. But what has been accomplished has exceeded what many thought was possible. And it’s taken a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice, first and foremost from the people of Somalia. But many of the international representatives around this table have also been extraordinarily generous and committed.
So now we have to help in the next phase for the people of Somali, and we look forward, on behalf of the United States, to doing everything we can to make it a success.