Thank you very much Mr. President
The United Kingdom welcomes the adoption of resolution 2317.
This sanctions regime continues to play a vital role in promoting peace and stability in the Horn of Africa.
In Somalia, it is preventing the flow of illicit arms and its cutting off Al Shabaab’s funding. It is preserving natural resources for the benefit of all Somalis and for their economic empowerment. And it is helping to provide better weapons and ammunition management for the Somali Security Forces.
But renewing this resolution today is just one part of our support to Somalia. A timely and credible electoral process this month is critical for Somalia’s future and we look forward to continuing our support of the incoming Federal Government of Somalia over the coming months. One of the key priorities for the new government will be a political agreement on security sector reform that is affordable, accountable, sustainable and acceptable to Federal and Regional authorities in Somalia.
Turning to Eritrea, this resolution could have looked very different if the Government of Eritrea had wanted it to. But the continuing lack of cooperation by Eritrea with the Monitoring Group and this Council left us with no choice. We could not welcome a visit as there has been no invitation. We could not welcome progress because nothing has changed. So we urge Eritrea to take steps to engage constructively and in a sustained manner with the Monitoring Group as mandated by this Council. We cannot be in the same position next year.
Some Council members have questioned the lack of movement by the Council on sanctions on Eritrea. But in this resolution we have recognised the positive developments; we have welcomed the release of four Djiboutian prisoners of war in March 2016, held since 2008. We have recognised the lack of evidence of Eritrean support for Al Shabaab, and we have expressed an intention to review the measures on Eritrea in 6 months time.
But without the cooperation of Eritrea, in compliance with the resolutions of this Council, our hands are tied.
Council members who regret the lack of movement on this sanctions regime should look to only one place; to Eritrea.
This resolution has regional implications. And as penholder, we took extensive steps to engage with all of the relevant regional stakeholders so that we could balance the views of this Council and of the region.
And so it is particularly disappointing that some Council members felt that they could not support it, given those extensive efforts.