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Opening Remarks at the Ministerial High Level Partnership Forum on Somalia, Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman

19 Nov 2014 - 17:40

Your Excellency, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Government of Somalia,

Your Excellency, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to be with you today. I thank our generous hosts, the Government of Denmark, and all of you for your commitment to Somalia.

I bring you the greetings of the Secretary-General, who visited Mogadishu last month together with the President of the World Bank and many of the regional partners here – another sign of our broadening and deepening international engagement in Somalia.



In my career of over 30 years in international affairs, I have never known a year like 2014. In the Middle East, in Ukraine, in West Africa, we have seen relentless crises, conflict and human suffering.

Somalia has stood out as different - a bright spot, a positive narrative in the making.

Of course this does not mean plain sailing. In speaking to the Security Council last month, our Special Representative Nick Kay called it a country “waking from a terrible nightmare”. Some of Somalia’s old shadows still haunt us. And the waking world has its own challenges.

But in this forum, together, we can face the challenges frankly as partners - with our eyes open, and focused on the way ahead.



As the Danish Prime Minister and President noted, so much has been achieved since we met in Brussels just over a year ago.

First, Somalia has made strides towards building regional administrations that will be the foundation of a federal state. I want to congratulate our Somali partners on this ongoing effort, which takes great courage and compromise from all sides.

I am glad to see representatives of Somalia’s regions with us today, particularly those from Puntland and the Interim Jubba Administration. Your common work in building inclusive, representative governance will be key to Somalia’s future and to delivering on our Compact. I want to take this opportunity to pledge our support, and to encourage you especially to include women at all levels in your work.

Second, the campaign against Al-Shabaab has advanced. I salute the courage and sacrifice of Somali security forces and AMISOM. Their courage and sacrifice have denied Al-Shabaab their last strongholds, and we rely on them to consolidate security and enable access to these areas in the months ahead.

We must continue to support Somalia in stabilization and building sustainable security, under the leadership of the Federal Government. That must include a comprehensive approach to counter-terrorism.

Third, we have seen progress in our partnership for transparent finance through the Financial Governance Committee. This is critical to build confidence in Somalia’s economy at home and abroad. Much more needs to be done. But international economic investment is already significant and growing.



Overall Somalia is in a better state than it has been in a generation. These gains have been the result of a strategic, effective partnership among Somalia’s federal leadership, that gave Somalis and those of us in the international community faith and confidence.

That is why I feel great sadness at the current political situation.

The news and scenes of the past few weeks in Mogadishu are unfortunately not new. Somalia has often been haunted by political instability and disunity.

Somalia cannot afford to repeat the pattern of division and paralysis that has led to ten Prime Ministers in a dozen years. This is not what Somalis have asked of their leaders. It is not for this that Somalis and AMISOM have laid down their lives. As Somalia’s friends and partners, the lack of unity, stability and delivery shakes our confidence.

I urge His Excellency the President and all our Somali colleagues to ensure that the current crisis is resolved rapidly, and in a way that ensures political stability through to 2016. I welcome the role of IGAD, of which Somalia is a founding member, in facilitating the search for a lasting solution.

In turn, we as international partners must ourselves must live up to the partnership principles we have pledged, and fulfil the commitments of this Compact.

Together, we all need to do better to ensure that our investment and commitment in Somalia is matched by results on the ground. We also must redouble our efforts to improve the lives of ordinary Somalis, remembering that some 3.2 million remain in need of humanitarian assistance. Failure to address their needs could undermine progress on all fronts.

The Compact we will renew today remains the right tool to marshal our efforts for long-term peace and development.

I look forward to our discussions today as partners. Let us especially remember that the purpose of the New Deal is to bring tangible benefits to the people of Somalia.

It is for us to help them forge the foundation of democracy, stability and prosperity on which they will rebuild their lives.

I wish you a productive conference.