Nicholas Haysom, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Somalia, has been asked by the Somalia government to leave the country.
“The decision came after the highest U.N. diplomat in Somalia violated the agency’s standards and the international diplomatic norms by intervening the national sovereignty of Somalia,” according to the statement published by the government-controlled media.
The statement gave no further details.
Human rights a concern
On Monday, the U.N. ambassador urged the Somali government to safeguard human rights.
In a letter, Haysom urged Somali authorities to “exercise its authority in conformance with the law and provide explanation about the atrocities committed in Baidoa last month and the detention of Mukhtar Robow.”
Robow, a former al-Shabab leader, was arrest by the Somali government security forces last month. He also was excluded from elections in the South West Region of Somalia.
During his arrest, and the protests that followed, allegations came up that U.N.-supported regional police forces were involved in violence that left 15 civilians dead.
Analysts believe Haysom’s earlier letter and the subsequent Somali government decision to expel him shows the relationship between the two sides has been unstable.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Haysom as Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) in September 2018.
UN compound attack
On Tuesday, just hours before the Somali government’s letter of expulsion was released to the media, two U.N. staff members and a contractor were injured after seven mortars landed inside the U.N. compound in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
The staffers’ nationalities were not immediately available, but the officials at the compound said none of the injuries were life-threatening.
“Today’s indirect fire attack on the main U.N. compound in Mogadishu may amount to a violation of international humanitarian law, and I deplore this unwarranted act of aggression against our personnel,” Haysom said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
In a statement posted on a pro-al-Shabab website, the militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
“No political agenda can be served through violence that deliberately targets staff members of international organizations who are supporting the consolidation of peace and the strengthening of governing institutions in Somalia,” Haysom added. (VOA)
The first tangible signs of movement may be emerging in the impasse that has shut down the government for weeks: President Donald Trump is promising a “major announcement” about the closure and the U.S.-Mexico border and Democrats are pledging more money for border security.
It was unclear whether the developments, following days of clashes between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., might represent serious steps toward resolving the partisan fight or instead may simply be political posturing as the partial shutdown reached a record 29th day. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have gone without paychecks, enduring financial hardship. Many public services are unavailable to Americans during the closure.
The White House has declined to provide details about what the president would announce midafternoon Saturday. Trump was not expected to sign a national emergency declaration he has said was an option to circumvent Congress, according to two people familiar with the planning.
Instead, he was expected to propose the outlines of a deal that the administration believes could have the potential to pave the way for a shutdown end, according to one of the people. They were not authorized to publicly discuss details about the impending announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Democrats are now proposing hundreds of millions of dollars for new immigration judges and improvements to ports of entry from Mexico but nothing for the wall, a House aide said, as the party begins fleshing out its vision of improving border security.
Trump’s refusal to sign spending bills that lack $5.7 billion he wants to start constructing that wall, which Democrats oppose, has prompted the shutdown.
Whatever the White House proposed would be the first major overture by the president since Jan. 8, when he gave an Oval Office address trying to make the public case for the border wall. Democrats have said they will not negotiate until the government reopens, raising questions about how Trump might move the ball forward.
Democrats were proposing $563 million to hire 75 more immigration judges, who currently face large backlogs processing cases, and $524 million to improve ports of entry in Calexico, California, and San Luis, Arizona, the Democratic House aide said. The money is to be added to spending bills, largely negotiated between the House and Senate, that the House plans to vote on next week.
In addition, Democrats were working toward adding money for more border security personnel and for sensors and other technology to a separate bill financing the Department of Homeland Security, but no funds for a wall or other physical barriers, the aide said.
It was possible Democrats would introduce that measure next week as the cornerstone of their border security alternative to Trump’s wall, the aide said. Earlier Friday, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., who leads the House Appropriations Committee’s homeland security subcommittee, said in an interview that some Democrats were asking leaders, “What is our plan?”
The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the details publicly.
In a video posted on his Twitter feed late Friday, Trump said both sides should “take the politics out of it” and “get to work” to “make a deal.” But he also repeated his warnings, saying: “We have to secure our southern border. If we don’t do that, we’re a very, very sad and foolish lot.”
Few would argue that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the demand for entry by migrants and the Trump administration’s hard-line response overwhelm border resources. But critics say Trump has dramatically exaggerated the security risks and they argue that a wall would do little to solve existing problems.
Trump’s Friday evening tweeted announcement came after Pelosi on Friday canceled her plans to travel by commercial plane to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying Trump had caused a security risk by talking about the trip. The White House said there was no such leak.
It was the latest turn in the high-stakes brinkmanship between Trump and Pelosi that has played out against the stalled negotiations.
Pelosi had suggested Trump postpone the annual State of the Union address, a Washington tradition and a platform for his border wall fight with Democrats. It is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 29.
Trump never responded directly. Instead, he abruptly canceled Pelosi’s military flight on Thursday, hours before she and a congressional delegation were to depart for Afghanistan on the previously undisclosed visit to U.S. troops. (VOA)