News story | Date: 30/04/2008
The International Contact Group for Somalia (ICG) on 30 April hosted by Norway launched a communiqué after its meeting in Oslo.
International Contact Group on Somalia, Communiqué, April 30, 2008
The International Contact Group on Somalia (ICG) met in Oslo to discuss the political process, the urgent security situation and the worsening humanitarian crisis, with a particular focus on the plight of the IDPs. The Group called on all parties to the conflict to respect International Humanitarian Law. Protection of civilians must be a chief component of any security solution.
The ICG welcomed the creation of a TFG focal point for the humanitarian crisis and called on it and other parties to take the necessary steps to work with the UN, donors and NGOs to immediately establish a mechanism to address humanitarian access. The ICG furthermore called on all parties to respect the neutrality, independence and impartiality of the humanitarian response. The ICG appealed to the wider international community led by the SRSG to press for a political solution and the security requirements necessary to alleviate the humanitarian crisis. The ICG also recognized the need for social and economic development and livelihood support in Somalia.
The ICG reiterated that the only way to stability, reconciliation and development in Somalia is through inclusive dialogue. The Group welcomed the commitment by the TFG leadership and other stakeholders to engage in political talks, including the proposed meeting to take place in Djibouti under the auspices of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG). The ICG underlined the need for vigilance in protecting the dialogue from internal as well as external spoilers.
The ICG reviewed the TFG priority action plan, and, in preparation for a democratic transformation through elections as provided for in the Transitional Federal Charter, emphasized the need to focus on the constitutional process. The broadest possible ownership of this process was reiterated, including the active participation of women.
The ICG welcomed the efforts under way to secure a comprehensive UN strategy for peace, stability and development in Somalia, aligning and integrating the political, security and programmatic work. In this context, the ICG welcomed the Framework for Security Sector Assistance prepared for the SRSG, and asked that it be discussed with other parties, including the TFG. The ICG also welcomed plans to strengthen the office of the SRSG and the aim of relocating the UN Country Team and UN Political Office for Somalia.
The ICG, while commending the commitment of Uganda and Burundi, called on other African countries to contribute troops to bolster AMISOM, and on donors to provide resources required to sustain and expand its operation. The ICG welcomed the commitment of the UN Security Council to intensify its efforts to support and protect the political process, and to address the problem of piracy. The Group called for the hastened planning and urgent deployment of a UN mission to succeed AMISOM, which would facilitate the quick withdrawal of Ethiopian troops and other foreign fighters.
The ICG expressed continued concern about reports of human rights abuses in Somalia and the perceived culture of impunity. The Contact Group called particular attention to the widespread arrests of journalists and civil society representatives. The ICG supported an independent fact-finding mission to Somalia to address the human rights situation, in cooperation with the UN Independent Expert.
The ICG decided to hand over chairmanship of the group to the SRSG, in order to further strengthen the leadership role of the UN. The ICG thanked Norway and the US for their chairmanship up to this point. The ICG will continue to meet on a regular basis, enhanced by the addition of ad hoc groups, appointed by the SRSG on an as-needed basis.
Present at the meeting: United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, Tanzania, Kenya, Egypt, Yemen, Canada, Norway, United Nations (SRSG/UNPOS, UNDP, UNICEF, OCHA), European Union (Presidency, European Commission, Council Secretariat), African Union, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, League of Arab States.