Somalia will not take back expelled senior UN envoy: President Mohamed
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Somalia will not take back expelled senior UN envoy: President Mohamed

In his second call to Somalia's president in three days, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday spoke by phone with Mohamed to once again urge him to change his mind, according to diplomats. The phone call came after Somalia’s UN-backed government expelled the top UN envoy to the country, accusing him of meddling in its internal affairs after he challenged recent actions of UN-paid Somali police forces. In a late Tuesday statement, the East African nation’s Foreign Affairs Ministry announced that the UN secretary-general’s special representative to Somalia, Nicholas Haysom, “is not required and cannot work in this country,” in effect declaring him persona non grata. “The decision comes after he openly breached the appropriate conduct of the UN office in Somalia,” it said. Following the failure of efforts to convince Somalia to retract its decision to expel the current representative, UN spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters in New York that Guterres would appoint a new envoy to the country. "The Secretary General deeply regrets the decision of the Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia," Haq said, adding Guterres "has full confidence in Mr. Haysom." He emphasized that the doctrine of persona non grata does not apply to United Nations personnel. "At the same time the Secretary General is totally committed to ensuring that the needs of the Somali people are at the forefront of the work of the United Nations in Somalia. Therefore, he intends to appoint in due course a new Special Representative for Somalia," Haq said. Britain has called for closed-door consultations of the UN Security Council on Somalia's decision which according to diplomats is due to be held later on Friday. Somalia's Ambassador to the UN Abukar Dahir Osman told the Security Council on Thursday that the Somali people wanted "Somalia leading international support, not international support leading Somalia." "Somalia distinguishes between the institutions that we are part of and individual conduct that's had detrimental effect on our fragile nation," he said. In a December 30 letter to the interior security minister, Haysom, a South African lawyer and experienced diplomat, expressed concerns over “the alleged involvement of UN-supported Somali security forces in the arrest of Mukhtar Robow on December 13, the deaths of 15 civilians... on December 13, 14, and 15... and the arrest of approximately 300 people involved in the demonstrations on December 13, 14, and 15.” Robow, according to press reports, is a former member of the notorious al-Shabaab militant group who publicly renounced violence and recognized federal authority in 2017. The government, however, blocked his bid to become a regional leader in the country in an election last month. The UN remains a major backer of Somalia’s government, which also enjoys the support of Western countries. Somalia is still plagued by the aftereffects of a civil war in 1991, when warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

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