James Swan arrives in Somalia after re-appointment to UN mission


MOGADISHU, Somalia - James Swan returned to Mogadishu on Sunday after two years of absence, following his re-appointment by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to head the UN mission in Somalia, a country which is undergoing a stabilization process.

In a statement, the United Nations Assistance Mission (UNSOM) said Mr. Swan will focus on supporting the federal government of Somalia and the people of Somalia in advancing peace and stability as part of the state-building process.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the designation of Swan on May 14. Swan left Somalia in 2021 after Catriona Laing was appointed to take over from him having served in the country for about three years.

“Swan then held extensive meetings with UN headquarters leadership prior to his arrival in Mogadishu,” UNSOM said.

Swan previously served as the special representative for Somalia and head of UNSOM from 2019 to 2022, after a long career in the United States diplomatic service.

Before this mission, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs between 2006-2008, at the time Al-Shabaab was entering the stage. The al-Shabaab are blamed for Somalia's insecurity which has lasted for decades.

Before joining Somalia's stabilization mission, Swan also served in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, Somalia, Cameroon, Nicaragua, and Haiti. His arrival comes months after Somalia requested the UN to fold UNSOM.

Somali Foreign Minister Ahmed Fiqi said recently that the Somali government will no longer request a mandate renewal of resolution 2705 (2023).

However, there are beliefs that the Somali National Army may not be in a position to take over security responsibilities from foreign troops in Somalia.


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