United Nations commends United Kingdom for contribution to peace process in Somalia
Mogadishu, 13 December 2016 - The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) in Somalia Michael Keating has commended the United Kingdom government for deploying soldiers to support the peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
Speaking during a United Nations Special Service Medal Award at the UN camp in Mogadishu for the UK contingent that has served in Somalia for the last three months, Ambassador Keating said the benefits of their contribution and service can be seen all over the country.
“It’s already evident the changes that are coming as a result of your presence. I just want to acknowledge that and say that I’m very proud of the work you’re doing. I’m very grateful for the work you’re doing. I know that a lot of you have been in hardship duty stations and assignments. This isn’t the easiest in the world but I hope you’ve enjoyed it”, the SRSG said while thanking the 32 soldiers who received the medals.
Mr Keating said the UN mission in Somalia had set three major goals to achieve but the political solution was the key pillar.
“We’re trying to create the space, both physical and political, for the Somalis to sort out their problems. And the electoral process is an important part of that. Providing security for the electoral process is also an important part,” the SRSG added.
He said the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) was helping train and equip security forces of the Federal Government of Somalia.
“The hard part of security, that is, having security forces that are capable whether they are police, or army or intelligence or maritime and who can work with the African Union. But it’s also the softer parts of security”, Mr Keating added in regard to efforts the UN was doing to stabilize Somalia.
Speaking at the same ceremony, the Head of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), Hubert Price, thanked the contingent and said its soldiers had shown dedication to their duties despite challenges.
“I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of UNSOS to thank you for the immense contribution you have made to the Somali people, to AMISOM and the UN family. I commend the spirit and dedication you showed to your duties despite the challenges encountered”, the head of UNSOS added.
He thanked the 32 soldiers who will be departing shortly back to their country saying the services they had offered had immensely benefited the mission.
“By training AMISOM troops, the Somali National Army, UNSOS personnel and contractors, you offered direct support to UNSOS and ensured effective utilization of the logistics support we provide”, Mr Price said.
The UNSOS Head further said: “By training engineers and medical personnel, you supported areas central to the operations of AMISOM. We recognize and appreciate the tasks you have accomplished over the three months of your deployment. I thank the UK government for this initiative. The support of our partners goes a long way in aiding the stabilization process in Somalia.”
Two of the 32 soldiers recalled their deployment to Somalia saying they were taking fond memories from the mission.
“I’ve been working with the medical section and working closely with the Force medical officer from AMISOM and also the chief medical officer. I’ve had an experience which has included working very closely with all the different TCCs (Troop Contributing Countries),” Major Jane Philips, a Medical Support Officer said, adding that she had made friends and acquaintances across all the countries that have deployed soldiers in Somalia.
And Lance Corporal Gavin Nicole said he had found AMISOM soldiers professional and he had gained a lot of experience in training and working with them.
Each of the 32 soldiers was given a medal which was pinned on their uniforms by Ambassador Keating and Mr Price.
The Mogadishu event was part of the UN tradition started in June 1995 to recognize personnel serving the United Nations in capacities other than established peacekeeping missions and the United Nations headquarters who have met the United Nations standards conduct. The qualifying period for the medal is 90 days of service.