Connect with us

Somalia News

James Swan returns as UN Special Representative days after Somalia announced termination of UNSOM mandate



By: Hassan Yarrow

MOGADISHU—The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed James Swan as the Acting Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

In a statement released by the United Nations on Tuesday night, it was announced that Mr. Swan would assume the role of Special Representative, albeit temporarily, following the departure of Catriona Laing, who’s from the United Kingdom.

The Secretary-General expressed “gratitude for Laing’s dedicated service to UNSOM and Somalia during a challenging period.”

Recently, the Somali government called for the dissolution of the 360-member United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) when its mandate expires in October 2024, coinciding with Catriona Laing’s announcement of her departure after a year-long tenure.

Somali Foreign Minister Ahmed Fiqi communicated the government’s stance in a detailed letter to the UN Security Council, stating that the change “is long overdue.”

Fiqi emphasized the need “to transition to the next phase of their partnership” and advocated for the prompt conclusion of procedures to terminate the mission by the end of its mandate.

James Swan, the newly appointed envoy, previously served as the Special Representative for Somalia and Head of UNSOM between 2019 and 2022.

“He brings extensive diplomatic experience to the role, having served as the United States Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 2013 to 2016, Special Representative for Somalia from 2011 to 2013, and Ambassador to Djibouti from 2008 to 2011,” the UN statement said in part.

It continued that: “Swan has dedicated his career to navigating complex political transitions in African countries.”

Earlier in his career, Mr. Swan held positions such as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 2006 to 2008 and Director of African Analysis in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 2005 to 2006.

Mr. Swan earned a B.Sc. degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, an M.A. from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a Master’s degree in Security Studies from the National War College, all in the United States. He is fluent in English and French.

With James Swan at the helm, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia looks toward a period of continued engagement and support for Somalia’s progress, navigating the challenges and complexities that lie ahead.


Your comments here:


Share it with your friends