Thank you, Mr. President.

I would like to extend the warmest welcome to His Excellency Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia. Your presence testifies to your commitment to working together with this Council to ensure that Somalia can live in peace with itself and its neighbors.

I would also like to thank Special Representative Laing, Special Representative of the African Union Souef and Executive Director of the World Food Programme McCain for their presentations.

I would like to congratulate the Special Representative on her recent appointment and wish her a successful term, against the backdrop of important political developments.

The preliminary political agreement reached by the National Consultative Council to adopt an electoral model based on the principle of "one person, one vote" is a significant decision. Switzerland welcomes this agreement. In this respect, a historic step was taken in Somalia, with the elections in Puntland. Switzerland supported the local authorities, in particular the Puntland Transitional Electoral Commission, in educating and mobilizing voters.

In order to advance national priorities, including a closer cooperation between the Federal Member States and the Federal Government, we consider three points to be essential:

First, respect for international law must be at the heart of the response to insecurity throughout the country. We deplore the continued attacks by Al-Shabaab, including the recent attacks on the base of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia and on the Pearl Beach Hotel in Mogadishu, and by other armed groups. We recognize the efforts made by the Government and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) to address them. We call on all actors to respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and to ensure the protection of civilians, including children. In this respect, we remain concerned about the ongoing conflict in Laascaanood. We call on all parties to facilitate and ensure rapid and unhindered humanitarian access to all those in need, to agree to a ceasefire and to engage in dialogue with a view to a peaceful resolution of this conflict.

Second, a coordinated, holistic and inclusive approach must guide early recovery, the restoration of the state presence and peacebuilding efforts in areas reclaimed from Al-Shabaab. This is essential to restore and consolidate the social contract. Together with the UN and non-governmental partners, Switzerland supports platforms for dialogue and the strengthening of local district councils to deliver basic services. We are also promoting the active engagement of the Somali society as a whole to strengthen inclusive local governance and give a voice to women, youth and minority clans. This voice must be heard and integrated into decision-making processes.

Third, we are seeing the cumulative impact of climate risks and armed conflict on Somalia's stability. Although humanitarian aid and recent rains have offered relief to the population in need, recovery will take time, particularly in view of the severe drought currently raging. This, and the recent floods, have contributed to the displacement of people. We therefore need to invest in humanitarian response and peace-building programs that take climate adaptation into account. Otherwise, the next climate shock will bring the country back to the brink of famine, exacerbate displacement and conflict. Finally, it is essential to reduce the risk of famine by breaking the vicious cycle between violence and acute food insecurity, in line with the provisions of resolution 2417 (2018).

Mr. President,

I would like to congratulate the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia on the crucial role it is playing. Switzerland continues to support UNSOM, Somalia and its people in their efforts to build peace and a prosperous future.

I thank you.

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