UN Calls for Less Foreign Interference in Somalia

The United Nations Political Office for Somalia continues to put out some of the more bizarre and inconsistent press releases, in a region of the world not short on, erm, idiosyncratic politics. But this is possibly my favourite.

At first, I welcomed the release, headed as it is: “SRSG calls for end to external meddling in Somali internal affairs.” Somalia is a awash with misspent foreign cash and the best thing for Somalia is to let Somalis take over. Excellent. Far too much foreign cash has been spent by the United Nations on warlords and their militias. Let’s stop meddling. Then I remembered that in the arcane world of United Nations acronym SRSG stands for Special Representative of the Secretary General – ie the UN’s top man in Somalia. Or rather Nairobi. So the United Nations is calling for less foreign interference. Right, yes, I see how that works. So do they mean an end to all external meddling except for that conducted by the UN? I’ve never known a UN official do himself out of a job.

But then, the UN SRSG (keep up) Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah goes on to muddy the waters further…

I also call on foreign governments to refrain from meddling in Somali affairs. Today, external political interference perpetuates instability and encourages illegal fishing, as well as piracy and other criminal economic activities.
This is also an opportunity to recognize and thank the Government of Turkey’s positive role in supporting political stability, reconstruction and development in Somalia. Turkey’s constructive role is supported by the Government of Somalia and the United Nations, all true friends of peace in Somalia.

So there we have it, in one breath criticising foreign interference but welcoming Turkey’s involvement. I have written to UNPOS (work it out) asking for clarification of who is meddling and who is helping as I’m completely baffled. Is there a blacklist? Eritrea bad, Turkey good, Saudi Arabia, “erm blast, get me the grey list”… that sort of thing… More as soon as I have it

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