UN mission in Somalia mending ties with gov’t after expulsion of mission head

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The UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) is mending relations with Somalia’s federal government after the latter expelled the head of the UN mission, said the deputy head of the mission on Wednesday.

“We are making good progress on resetting UNSOM’s relations with the federal government,” Raisedon Zenenga told the Security Council in a briefing.

His discussions with Somali Prime Minister Hassan Khaire have been constructive following a visit by UN Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo to Mogadishu in February, said Zenenga.

The two sides have agreed on arrangements to restore and strengthen their engagement, and the prime minister has committed himself to strengthening the relationship ahead of the arrival of the new mission head, said the UN envoy.

UNSOM head Nicholas Haysom, who was also the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Somalia, was expelled on Jan. 1, 2019.

The Somali authorities claimed that Haysom had threatened the sovereignty of the country after he questioned the legal basis of the arrest of Mukhtar Robow, an extremist group defector-turned-political candidate. Both the UN secretary-general and the Security Council expressed regret at Somalia’s decision.

“There will be challenges on the road ahead, and there are still issues that will test the relationship with the federal government. But we are certainly in a better place than we were at the beginning of the year,” said Zenenga.

Mandate implementation is back on track, he said. Enditem

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