pecial Representative Nicholas Kay. Photo: AU/UN/IST/Tobin Jones

12 September 2013 – While praising the people and Government of Somalia, along with their international partners, for being “on the brink of achieving truly great things,” the top United Nations Envoy in the country warned the Security Council that overall success is not guaranteed and that “in no sense at all is the Somalia ‘crisis’ over.


“Where we stand is […] precarious. We cannot afford to lessen our focus or investment – despite the many competing claims for our attention in the rest of the world,” said Nicholas Kay, head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia, as he briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s latest report on the situation in the country.


Before going into some detail on political and security issues he began by answering the question he said that all the Secretary-general’s Special Representatives probably hear most: “Are you optimistic?”


“The answer in my case is a resounding “yes,” he said, adding that behind the “twists and turns, the crises and the standoffs”, Somalia has the foundations for progress: the international community is united behind a credible, legitimate federal Government.


“There are resources available to meet the most immediate needs; there is the political will to compromise and manage disputes without resorting to violence. And the Somali people I have met are tired of war and deprivation, fed up with brinkmanship and predatory politics,” said Mr. Kay.


He said that the core of Somalia’s political challenge is simple to describe, “even if rather difficult to solve.” After 22 years of conflict, power and control of resources and revenue have fragmented. The strong centralist state has ceased to exist. Different regions and different people now hold different bits of power, he said, adding: “That’s why Somalis have decided a federal model is the only system that will work in this new reality.”


Mr. Kay said that the task now is for Somalis to reconcile and agree among themselves exactly how federalism will work in practice. “How will they share power, revenue, resources and responsibilities in a way that benefits all Somalia? These are difficult issues: but ones which need political solutions,” he said.


That is why in his first three months, he prioritized the need for progress on the Constitutional review and constructive engagement with the regions; travelling to Puntland, Somaliland and engaging closely on the Jubba question.


He went on to tell the Council that the situation in the Jubba regions was one of the most serious issues to face the Federal Government. In early June, the risks were very high of a collapse in security and political stalemate in Kismayo, as well as between the Jubba parties and Mogadishu.


“However, an agreement was finally reached on 28 August in Addis Ababa, under the active mediation of Ethiopian Foreign Minister Dr Tedros Andhanom on behalf of IGAD, which set out interim governance, security and economic arrangements,” he said.


To the north, the relationship between Somaliland and Somalia remains sensitive and fragile. Nevertheless, he said, there is progress to report. With the mediation of Turkey, the two parties have had two sessions of talks this year. The agreement on shared management of airspace could be a model for other areas of mutually beneficial cooperation. “We urge both sides to focus on solutions, however modest, not problems,” said Mr. Kay.


As for other progress he said that in less than a week, another key building block of Somalia’s stabilization will be put in place as some 200 delegates will gather in Brussels on September 16, hosted jointly by the European Union and the Federal Government.


“The New Deal Compact is a Somali-led and Somali-owned set of priorities, milestones to achieve them, making an architecture for international support to Somalia, coordination and funding,” he said, but stressed that the true test of the Compact will be in how it makes a difference in peoples’ daily lives. “The UN in Somalia will play its part to the full, especially in assisting the Government to coordinate international assistance,” he said.


Finally, he said that in terms of rebuilding a shattered state and rescuing millions of people from conflict and poverty, “we are standing on the very edge of great success.” But, Mr. Kay urged the Council to remain vigilant, stressing that the “crisis” was far from over. “If we fail and Somalia slips back and Al Shabaab prevail, we shall feel the security impact from Bamako to Bangui, and beyond Africa. Their ideology respects no borders.”


To get over the threshold and achieve great things, “we need more,” he continued, stressing that while much had been done, there are three areas in which the international community must boost its efforts: support for the Somali National Security Forces; enhanced capabilities for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM); and thirdly, an well-resourced and coherent UN role in the exit strategy for AMISOM.


“Working in Somalia is expensive; keeping our staff safe costs real money. Ensuring success will cost more, but not very much compared to what the international community has spent in Iraq, Afghanistan and more recently Mali,” Mr. Kay said.



  1. There is no love lost between Nick Kay and Somaliland. He is an enemy of Somaliland, and both he and Somaliland know that.

    He does not hide his animosity towards Somaliland, and would take every opportunity to sabotage Somaliland. Therefore, it behooves us, Somalilanders, to make sure that he does not get anywhere with his “mission'' in the Somali peninsula.

    We saw off others before him, and he is no different.

  2. Mr. Kay is another UN bureaucrat, he doesn't care about whether or not Somali gets stabilized, all he cares is that his glorified position and the shinning spotlight he gets from media as he stresses the failed state more than 20 times in his report.
    If the readers would pay more attention. Mr. Kay has emphasized 3 elements on his report: support for the Somali National Security Forces-which means more handouts to deepened Somalia's dependency on foreign aid.
    Enhanced capabilities for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), this clearly shows that Mr. Kay believes that foreign military involvement in Somalia is paramount and should always be remained on the table.
    Thirdly, an well-resourced and coherent UN role in the exit strategy for AMISOM: Again obviously Mr. Kay is pleading more funds and this time apparently mixed troops from various parts of the world as the AMISOM mandate expires in this case Somalia's sovereignty will be squeezed under the UN's thumb.

    The other thing I found a quite fascinating was that Mr. Kay's take on Somaliland and Somalia talks in Turkey he basically implied as they agreed on the airspace management they might agree on other areas of cooperation..that's utterly misleading….because choosing Somaliland to manage the airspace for Somaliland and Somalia was the only viable option in hand since Somalia's security is still hanging on the balance.

    No-one with a healthy state of mind would suggest to jeopardize a functioning branch and ultimately put lives at risk. Thus, It would nice if Mr. Kay at least acknowledges Somaliland's progress at the security council and tries to put his personal vendetta toward Somaliland aside temporarily.

  3. Folks..Amb. Kay cautioned that he was only 3 months on the job though he he is an
    outstanding expert. Am personally impressed by his first report to the UNSC. The Amb
    has taken over a badly battered job with multi-faceted loggerheads. While trying to connect
    many precarious things, the Amb. is trying to do an impartial efforts to all the FGS roadmap
    Signatories on the one hand and the Somaliland Sovereign State non-roadmap Signatory on
    the other. This is his first report and personally he reported Somaliland and Somalia talks
    which is enough that he would not be siding either side who are free to workout their differences.
    Personally, am quite satisfied with Amb. Kay's first report to the UNSC but am not happy about
    the AU Amisom envoy That Dude Naadiif speaking in french. He is fully a good hand for Amisom
    and beyond and cares a damn about Somaliland.

  4. To this end of the new development and the first report to UN Security Council, The UNSOM headed by Kay – is progressively replacing AMISOM as is in his mandate, it is good he took in his report the wording of Somaliland aside from his mission as it was included in his mandate before. Now the UN Security Council heard where Somaliland Stands on the whole Issue. Somaliland is not the first to reject a UN Security Council Mandate – Many others did, Some were destroyed rightfully or wrongfully with international coalition forces, others were taken seriously with different UN Security Council Resolution. So far the one Resolution issued is the one under the Federal Republic of Somalia. Let them do their homework the issue is very clear and it is good the Security Council heard it very clear before EU rounds its decision on the New Deals with the Federal Government of Somalia as well.