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Somalia faces multi-faceted challenges

Permanent Representative of Somalia to the United Nations, addresses the Security Council on the situation in Somalia, at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 13, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

The outgoing UN envoy for Somalia, Michael Keating, on Thursday warned that terrorism and political differences will derail progress in Somalia.

Al-Shabaab remains resilient in the Horn of Africa country despite the efforts of the UN peacekeeping mission and Somali security forces to contain it, Keating told the Security Council.

The terrorist group is regularly using targeted assassinations, improvised explosive devices and extortion both of communities and businesses, he said.

Managing and mitigating this risk requires systematic degradation of al-Shabaab as well as increasing the legitimacy and capacity of government. One without the other will not work, he said.

Keating, who is also head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia, known as AMISOM, warned that political differences in the country will bring progress, passage of key legislation, and implementation of the government’s reform and security agenda to a grinding halt.

The deficit of trust between central government and federal member states, and the recent decision by the latter to suspend cooperation, are very worrisome, he said.

Fundamental issues, including how power should be shared, allocated and separated, the nature of the federal state, the respective powers of the federal and state governments, should be addressed through the constitutional review, he said.

Strong and differing views about federalism are legitimate but if the political culture is to change, they need to be resolved through dialogue and not through unilateral action, he said.