Secretary Clinton Addresses UN High-Level Meeting on Somalia

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
September 23, 2011
Somali Children Hold Pots in Mogadishu

More:U.S. Response to Humanitarian Crisis in the Horn of Africa | How You Can Help

More than 13.3 million people are in need of emergency assistance in the Horn of Africa, primarily in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. During a High-Level Meeting on Somalia at the United Nations on September 23, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced approximately $42 million in additional humanitarian assistance, which includes an additional $30 million for Somalia. Secretary Clinton said:

"...We have an opportunity today because of the withdrawal of al-Shabaab forces from most parts of Mogadishu. That has created a welcome shift in momentum, and that allows the Transitional Federal Government an unexpected opportunity to show Somalis that you can deliver security and basic services and lay the foundation for a stable, funcitoning government. That is what we want to see for the people of Somalia.

"The political instabilty, the limited rule of law, the security threats have tragically affected Somalis for many years, and today it has an added tragic consequence because it has prevented many Somalis from getting acess to aid during the drought and famine. Fully one-third of all Somalis are now displaced in their own country or in countries bordering Somalia. And I thank the bordering countries for their generosity and hospitality under very difficult circumstances.

"But al-Shabaab's efforts to block NGO access to the most vulnerable areas of Somalia and its limitations on the delivery of life-sustaining humanitarian assistance has exacerbated this crisis. As the famine persists and al-Shabaab continues to deny Somalis access to life-saving assistance, the TFG and the international community have to work even harder together.

"The U.S. has provided more than $600 million in this crisis response, including approximately 102 million directly for Somalia to increase access to clean water, sanitation, heath, and of course, food. And I am pleased that the United States today will be contributing an additional $42 million for the region with $30 million specifically for the people of Somalia.

"But we have to send a message to al-Shabaab. And we and all of our partners, including the Arab League and the OIC, must continue to call on al-Shabaab to allow unfettered access. I honestly do not understand what is in it for them, what possible ideological or political motive can compel them to see women and children die because they cannot get access to help.

"But it's not only that we as the international community have an obligation to assist in this crisis. We have an obligation to support Somali efforts to develop a politically stable government. And I am encouraged that such a broad range of partners has comitted to fulfill the goals of the roadmap and its four prioirty tasks to be accomplished by August. These are ambitious but necessary goals.

"By securing Mogadishu, we can create the conditions for the TFG and other international actors to improvide basic services. So I join in the request that I already heard to help strengthen and expand the number of AMISOM troops on the ground within the current mandate and to purchase equipment and uniforms and support training.

"Secondly, we want to put the process toward a constitution to protect the rights of all Somalis, a timelie for parliamentary reforms and credible elections for the president and speaker of the parliament in August 2012.

"Third, we will continue to call for all Somalis to renounce violence, lay down their arms, and to continue this good work with regional leaders to try to create a culture in which such violence is not tolerated.

"And finally, we wish to assist in promoting better goverance by fighting corruption and increasing transparency that in turn will give Somali people confidence in their officials and public institutions."

You can read the Secretary's full remarks here on state.gov.

Comments

Comments

Adri D.
|
Indonesia
September 24, 2011

Adri D. in Indonesia writes:

what happen to extremism ?

Somethings are just beyond our understandings

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 25, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Dipnote bloggers,

If you'all would be so kind as to send a copy of this post to the Sec of State's office, I'm sure she'll appreciate a citizen's concise answer to her conundrum expressed in the following, for in the complexities of diplomacy it is sometimes the most simple things that causes wonderment at men's actions in this world.

@ Sec. Clinton,

The simple truth of the matter Madam Secretary is that you are blessed with an enormous ammount of empathy for people, therefore it is completely understandable why you can't imagine what motivates al-sheebab to add to people's misery in Somalia.

The answer is this; It is an extention of their total lack of empathy which feeds their desire to create mayhem and misery, in order to justify their ideology, as practiced through terrorism.

Given that if they had even a spark of empathy they would not do what they do, they have to maintain a strict dicipline of having none at all in order to exist with their stated unethical purpose in being intact.

My recomendation as to how to deal with the problem of humanitarian access does not involve asking al shebbab to step aside and let the aid in, but rather shoving them aside rather rudely to deliver it by force in the face of terrorists inhabiting a safe haven they've created and holding thousands of satarving hostages within it, being the opperating conditions whereby such action to protect populations is completely justified and warranted under international law.

I do believe if the intern. comm. won't take responsibility to address the problem in such a manner, then it falls to the US to make good on the civilian efforts and take a military approach to assuring those humanitarian efforts gain universal access to populations and the utter defeat of al sheebab and then and only then can Somalia's refugees think about going home to rebuild their lives and livelyhoods.

Anyway, I hope this helps resolve the question you have in the following referenced quote;

EJ

RE;

"But we have to send a message to al-Shabaab. And we and all of our partners, including the Arab League and the OIC, must continue to call on al-Shabaab to allow unfettered access. I honestly do not understand what is in it for them, what possible ideological or political motive can compel them to see women and children die because they cannot get access to help."

Maureen
|
Massachusetts, USA
September 25, 2011

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

Secretary Clinton/ UN Somalia:

It looks as though some slight improvement has been made since the last post titled- Famine Spreads in Somalia. Secretary Clinton is addressing this humanitarian crisis in a big way with an excellent balance of sensitivity and persuasiveness.

International support is growing and more attention is being gained to this crisis in the Horn of Africa. Security as intervention and forcing the hand of corrupt organizations that starve women and children are at the forefront. This is the obvious, most immediate route but now let us focus on "the long game" and empower these women with the tools, education and technology needed to feed themselves and become leaders within their nations. The goal and plight of food security for everyone may involve women in a larger way.

Zharkov
|
United States
September 26, 2011

Zharkov in the U.S.A. writes:

Bullying is for losers.

No need to start a war over a rice delivery.

Just air drop the food bags and let the starving masses grab their share. They can make tents out of the parachutes.

Label the boxes, "Gifts from The Secretary" and include her speeches and a visa so they can learn English, come to America, and do the jobs that Americans can't find.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 26, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Leaving a country to the whim of terrorists and warlords for the past 20 years is for losers Z, that's why folks are dealing with a famine there now, and if the basic instability is not addressed in whatever fashion you want to call it so long as al Sheebab is history as a result, no longer able to terrorize anyone...then it is just more of the same loser attitude that hasn't got the hard work done yet and creates harder work down the road to fix.

So now folks got a real mess on their hands after 20 years of neglect by the international community and all bombing folks with food will do is give al Sheebab the opportuninty to feed themselves as they take it away from the starving at gunpoint. Nice in theory but not in practicality.

Somalia needs a Marshal Plan, nothing less after folks take the next 6 months in an international effort to rid the nation of terrorists, pirates, and start feeding the people on a massive scale.

And folks would be stopping a war that is already being waged by al sheebab on innocents and has been going on for well over a decade, rather than starting one...as it's going after the neighborhood bully and Al Sheebab very much needs to be shoved aside as rudely as folks are inclined to do so.

Hasn't thew last decade taught you anything?

Terrorists don't respond well to reason or kindness, or plea's to their humanity. Too busy proving how divorced they are from what human is, I guess.

What's not to bully over that? "Comply or die" is more like it.

And that's the message folks need to be sending to Al Sheebab right about now.

EJ

Zharkov
|
United States
September 26, 2011

Zharkov in the U.S.A. writes:

America doesn't have a monopoly on fighting terrorism and hunger. France has desert experience with their Foreign Legion in Algeria for decades until recently.

Somalia is obviously a French problem for Sarko to handle. He did so well in Libya, that Somalia should be a cakewalk. Somalia needs a French touch.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 26, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Never suggested America did Z, and after all it is esprit de corps I'm looking for, and France is more than welcome to do whatever it feels it needs to, better to go after bad guys with a posse rather than all by their lonesome though...be a lot more strait forward in assuring results if it was a "we thing" among concerned nations among the willing anyway.

You want the killing to stop, but you arn't willing to do what's neccessary to stop it?

That's not a question to you Z, that's my question to world leaders....regarding this, Syria, among a number of other things...that cause my general state of impatience with the pace of change in global mindset.

Folks talk of all the work the UN does as a global forum and yet there's one initiative and debate that hasn't been had that really needs to be, and that's how to prevent little dictators from becoming genocidal maniacs, and how to prevent terrorists from having a longer term life expectancy than neccessary.

And just what it is going to take to protect populations in this quarter of the 21st century.

It's not that these problems are impossible to solve, but they are bigger problems now that they were when no one had the political will prior to 9/11 to deal with them in any kind of permanently effective manner with a strategy attatched that was adaptable to circumstance.

We may not be able to be all things to all people everywhere at once in this world, but we don't need to be as a nation,...only just where it matters, saves lives, and our presence is required to defeat terrorists, and feed people.

I'm sure that will employ folks here at home too.

EJ

Maureen
|
Massachusetts, USA
September 27, 2011

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

Secretary Clinton/UN:

@eric @z

France may have an "in" due to their strong African presence in the past and budgets dedicated to initiatives such as Medecins Sans Frontiers.

The awkward balance of UN security intervention and aid missions in the same breath is now an uncomfortable reality in the global community. National security budgets of partnership nations are being re-thought due to this unfortunate terrorist aspect of food security.

If entire populations are being denied the most basic, fundamental life sustaining elements than we, the international community have the duty and "obligation" to act. This is not a job or responsibility for any one country to take on in my opinion. It is so much about prevention and education and really involves commitment qui dure.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
September 27, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Maureen in Mass.,

I think the legal conditions for the protection of populations has been met in that al sheebab is by preventing humanitarian aid access, directly denying the people of that region under their control basic sustinance of life.

They hold no soveregnity over territory, only influence an area by force of arms, and it will take force of arms to remove them as a threat to the population.

Although when multiple nations decide to put about 100,000 troops on the ground w/ equipment, they might choose descretion as the better part of valor and not get stupid with folks...and walk away.

And yeah, unless you want the dying to continue, each and every individual nation is obligated in their own right to uphold the UN charter and put a stop to genocide...there's got to be at least a half dozen actions taken in the UN that set precedent for "all neccessary measures" to be acted upon in this case.

Where it concerns international cooperation, I'd ask China to put her brand spanking new (old) aircraft carrier off the coast filled with gas and helicopters to help unload ship to shore the 5000 tons of wheat Russia is going to give to the crisis, because they both can and they earn international kudos for being nice guys...(chuckle).

And if the military leadership thinks of this as having been invited to a "hunting party" to take care of the varmits so the herd can eat in peace, then it is good to remember that cowboy diplomacy is mostly all about mending fences and leading the herd to greener pastures, and it's fully dependant on the strenth and temperament of the horse ridden.

What's nice about the way this works is that generally the US can find folks willing to ride with our President when the peace of nations is at stake, when a posse must be formed to deal with the occasional outlaw or dictator.

And you know what lessons from history one may draw from the last few decades?

The longer one waits to engage in regime replacement therapy, the more lives get lost, displaced, damaged beyond repair, and a culture of dependancy on foreign aid is not a long term safety net...But if you expect Somali's to take take back their country on their own, that would be expecting a bit much from a bunch of malnorished folks who are unarmed and in refugee camps, let alone a proto-government, barely recognizable in its ability to function under the circumstances.

If AMISOM has the mandate and the resources, then it may just find the confidence to do the stabilization job properly and rise to the occasion,...that would be a big step forward for Africa, because its peoples could live with reasonable assurance that no one would simply be able to ursurp power over a people in unjust manner again. It's the least Africans can do for themselves to gang up on them when they try.

Attitude is everything;

"...It is so much about prevention and education and really involves commitment qui dure."

Agreed, ...folks generaly figure out what works and what doesn't eventually. Ethical infants generally learn the hard way though, and the results of trying to educate them are...well, interesting to say the least.

As for "awkward", war is always at the very least.. that, if not a hell of a lot more unpleasent for everyone, but to solve your concern supplies are supplies, if ngo's can't deliver in a combat zone, someone can, and must.

The hats the President wears between C in C and his other official duties does not include one called "Instigator in Chief", but unnofficially I think it must be taken as a given that to lead this nation, and lead the world in helping to find good grazing, he's kind of got to wear that one underneath all the others.

I appreciate everything the Sec of State said to the Somali's themselves in that it is they who must own the results of any international help, and that makes them either a part of the solution, or by lack of solidarity, an excuse for their failure to succeed along the path agreed as outlined.

But that means folks also have to give them every chance possible to stand up a peaceful Somalia that has a future...not more of this.

Best,

EJ

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