UN chief condemns expulsion of his Special Representative in Somalia

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The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday condemned the Somali government’s decision to expel his Special Representative in the country, adding that he had “full confidence” in Nicholas Haysom’s abilities and track record as an international civil servant.

Haysom was reportedly accused of violating diplomatic rules and overstepping his authority by the Somali government, in questioning the legal basis for the arrest of a former al-Shabab deputy leader early last month, who was standing for election in South West state.

Somalia’s Ambassador to the UN, Abukar Dahir Osman, who spoke in a Security Council meeting on Thursday, urged the UN not to interfere in the “internal affairs” of the country which lay beyond its agreed mandate.

In a statement released by his deputy, the UN chief said that any declaration Mr. Haysom was persona non grata in Somalia, does not accord with diplomatic rules.

“The doctrine of persona non grata does not apply to, or in respect of, United Nations personnel,” the statement read in part.

“As described in the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the doctrine applies to diplomatic agents who are accredited by one State to another in the context of their bilateral relations.  The United Nations is not a State and its personnel are not accredited to the States where they are deployed, but work under the sole responsibility of the Secretary-General,” the statement continued.

“The Secretary-General has full confidence in Mr. Haysom, an experienced and respected international civil servant who has distinguished himself in numerous senior leadership roles, in the field and at UN Headquarters.”