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UNPOS - United Nations Political Office for Somalia

In his report to the Security Council on Somalia (S/1995/231) dated 28 March 1995, the United Nations Secretary-General expressed the intention to maintain a small political office in Somalia in the post UNOSOM II period. UNPOS came into existence on 15 April 1995 comprising of a Director, and two other staff members, this was later announced to the Security Council in the Secretary-General's letters of 18 April 1995 (S/1995/322). In a letter dated 31 May 1995 (S/1995/451), the Secretary-General informed the council that UNPOS would operate from Nairobi until the security situation would permit a relocation to Somalia. In his report (S/1997/715) the UN Secretary-General stressed the need for UNPOS to try and maximize the efforts of the international community with respect to peace initiatives on Somalia. The Security Council concurred in (S/1997/756) and agreed to the addition of a Professional post to UNPOS. The terms of reference of UNPOS were given as follows:

  1. Monitor developments in Somalia as a whole and keep the Secretary-General informed on the situation in the country, taking into account relevant decisions of the Security Council and other Organs of the United Nations;

  2. Assist the people of Somalia, where applicable, in their efforts to achieve national reconciliation;

  3. Liaise with the neighboring countries and concerned organizations, such as the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the League of Arab States (LAS) and the OIC on political developments relating to Somalia;

  4. Liaise with the Office of the Humanitarian Resident Coordinator for Somalia, if and when necessary, while preserving the independent nature of the Office; and

  5. Perform other activities commensurate with the mission of the Political office in Somalia.

In implementing its mandate, UNPOS has been in constant touch with Somali faction representatives, other Somali leaders as well as civil society representatives. UNPOS has been able to monitor political developments in Somalia. In addition, UNPOS has been able to offer advice and suggestions on a specific settlement for the Somali problem.

Further to its monitoring role, UNPOS translates Somali media reports and shares this information with external actors on Somalia that are resident in Nairobi. In addition, UNPOS benefits from situation reports of other UN Agencies and the Office of the European Commission for Somalia operating in key outposts within Somalia concerning new developments.

UNPOS has shown interest in areas where efforts are being made to solve the differences among clans and factions. Somalis often call on UNPOS requesting assistance in pleading their respective cases with other UN Agencies. UNPOS provides such assistance based on the merit of each request.

UNPOS remains the sole United Nations link with Somali leaders for political discussions. Aside from regular consultations with foreign ministries and embassies of countries and organizations interested in developments in Somalia, UNPOS provides the only political forum for exchange of views on Somalia by external actors in Nairobi.

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