March 19, 2019

UN chief regrets his Somalia envoy’s expulsion, will send replacement

Share this article:

Reading Time: 1 min

UNITED NATIONS — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will appoint a new envoy to Somalia, a U.N. spokesman said on Friday, after failing to convince the country to retract its decision to expel the current representative over accusations of interference.

Since Somalia’s foreign ministry declared late on Tuesday that U.N. envoy Nicholas Haysom “cannot work in this country,” Guterres has spoken twice with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters in New York.

Nicholas Haysom, then the top UN envoy in Afghanistan, speaks during a press conference in Kabul. Somalia’s government on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 ordered Nicholas Haysom, the United Nations envoy to Somalia, to leave amid questions over the arrest of the al-Shabab extremist group’s former deputy leader Mukhtar Robow who had run for a regional presidency. (Massoud Hossaini, File/Associated Press)

“The Secretary-General deeply regrets the decision of the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia,” Haq said. “The Secretary-General has full confidence in Mr. Haysom.”

Haq noted that the doctrine of persona non grata does not apply to United Nations personnel.

“At the same time the Secretary-General is totally committed to ensuring that the needs of the Somali people are at the forefront of the work of the United Nations in Somalia,” Haq said. “Therefore, he intends to appoint in due course a new Special Representative for Somalia.”

The U.N. Security Council is due to discuss the developments behind closed doors later on Friday, diplomats said.

The United Nations is a major backer of Somalia, a country that has lacked strong central government since 1991. The government’s decision on Haysom could intensify a confrontation between Mogadishu and the semiautonomous regions.

Haysom had raised questions in a letter on Sunday about the involvement of U.N.-supported Somali security forces in the arrest of a former militant of the Islamist al Shabaab group who was blocked from running in a regional election.

Haysom, a South African, told the Security Council on Thursday that the allegations of interference by the federal government in the regional election and the violence that followed the former militant’s arrest “does not bode well for the upcoming electoral processes in other regions or for the 2020 national elections.”

Somalia’s U.N. Ambassador Abukar Dahir Osman told the Security Council that the Somali people wanted “Somalia leading international support, not international support leading Somalia.”

“Somalia distinguishes between the institutions that we are part of and individual conduct that’s had detrimental effect on our fragile nation,” he said. — Reuters

Facebook Comments

Share this article:

Related Posts