World, Africa

Somali envoy warns UN to stay out of country's affairs

Ambassador’s remarks follow expelling of top UN official after he questioned legality of former al-Shabab leader’s arrest

Jeyhun Aliyev   | 04.01.2019
Somali envoy warns UN to stay out of country's affairs File photo

Ankara

By Betul Yuruk

NEW YORK

Somalia urged the United Nations on Thursday not to interfere in its domestic affairs, a day after the country declared the UN secretary general’s special envoy there persona non grata.

"The UN and its representatives have a duty -- even an obligation -- to respect their mandate and not interfere in our internal affairs and let the Somalis control their own destiny," said Somali ambassador Abukar Dahir Osman while addressing the Security Council.

On Tuesday, Somalia's government expelled Nicholas Haysom, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, ordering him to leave “with immediate effect” after they accused him of interfering with national sovereignty.

Haysom had sent a letter dated Dec. 30 to the country’s interior security minister expressing concern over the arrest of a former member of the al-Shabab insurgent group earlier in the month as well as the deaths of 15 civilians and the arrest of around 300 people involved in demonstrations.

"In South West State, allegations of Federal Government interference in the electoral process and violence following the arrest of a candidate -- a former al-Shabab deputy leader -- does not bode well for electoral processes in other regions or for the 2020 national elections," he said.

He stressed that this situation will also affect al-Shabab members in the future on choosing politics instead of violence.

Mukhtar Robow, a former al-Shabab spokesman also known as Abu Mansor, was arrested by Somali and Ethiopian troops in a joint operation in the city of Baidoa on Dec. 13.

Robow had sought to run for the presidency of South West State in elections scheduled for Dec. 5, but the country’s election commission postponed the polls for a third time in a bid to prevent him from standing in the election.

Haysom, appointed in September, was declared persona non grata by the Somalian government after questioning the legality of Robow’s arrest in the letter.

In a statement Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said the decision was reached “after the highest UN diplomat in Somalia violated the agency's standards and international diplomatic norms by intervening in the national sovereignty of Somalia”.

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