Somalis express cautious hope about London Conference



Somalis express cautious hope about London Conference


MOGADISHU (SM) — As the last of Somalia’s delegations left the country for London to attend the International conference in the British capital, residents of the capital Mogadishu expressed hope about the outcome of the talks that will kick off on Monday.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and a delegation comprising cabinet ministers, lawmakers and senior government advisers left Saturday. President Hassan will co-chair the conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

London Conference will focus on assessing the needs of the Somali government and supporting it in the reform of the country’s security apparatus, the judiciary, reconstruction and investment in the Somali economy, said Somalia’s foreign Minister Fawzia Haji Yusuf.

Many express the hope that the talks in the British capital will lead in the political reconciliation between the central Somali government and northwestern regions, known as Somaliland, which proclaimed unilateral independence from the rest of the country back in 1991.

For me the London Conference is a victory for Somalia. The conference could bring the North to talk with the government and work towards unity which is a positive outcome.” Hassan Hashi Mohamed, a Mogadishu resident told Xinhua.

The talks in London Conference, to be attended by 50 countries and international organizations, is the second of its kind to be held in UK for Somalia. The first was in 2012 which herald the end of the twelve year transitional period and led to the establishment of a permanent government for the country.

The main objective of the conference, said the British foreign office, is “to provide international support for the Federal Government’s plans” for developing the country’s armed forces, police, justice sector, and public financial management systems.

Siid Omar, a student in Mogadishu, said the top priority for Somalis is to see the government given support in maintaining security for the people.

“We welcome the London Conference and we hope it will bring together the estranged people of Somalia to work together in securing the country. That is the priority and the most important outcome” Siid Omar told Xinhua.

The talks is also expected to encourage dialogue between Somalia’s central government and the breakaway republic of Somaliland which said it will not attend the talks in London.

Somaliland is not recognized by any country but the region has established a functioning political and economic system and has a separate army, police, national flag and currency.

Mohamed Mohamoud, a resident in Mogadishu said he hopes talks between the Somali government and Somaliland leaders would pave the way for unity between the two sides.

“As far as I am concerned I believe the conference in London is an important one which we welcome and I hope it will facilitate talks between the North and Somali government and will lead to a unity between the Somali brothers,” he said.

Hundred rally in Mogadishu in support
of London Somalia conference

MOGADISHU (SM) — Hundreds of Mogadishu residents on Tuesday gathered at a rally to support the international conference on Somalia in the British capital city of London.

The rally which was held in the newly build Peace Garden in Mogadishu was attended by senior Somali officials including Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon and cabinet ministers.

Hundreds of flag-waving residents carried banners and placards as they chanted slogans in support of London conference which kicked off on Tuesday.

Somali Prime Minister’s office said the rally was aimed at showing solidarity with London conference co-hosted by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and UK Prime Minister David Cameron in London.

The conference is also attended by representatives of 50 countries and international organizations to provide support for Somalia.

London conference is historic and we are very hopeful of its outcome. The international community underlined its commitment to provide coordinated and sustained support for the implementation of our own plans to move Somalia forward,” Prime Minster Shirdon said.

Somali government said the conference will provide support to Somalia on four key areas of “political stability, improving security, justice reforms and public financial management”.

Somali Prime Minister said despite progress being made on several fronts including regional administrations and the government’s Stabilization Plan, security and instability challenges faced Somalia and these were “too tough for Somalia to deal by itself”.

We need international support to strengthen government institutions that are at infant stage. We also need resources to fight terrorists, pirates and perpetrators of sexual violence,” Prime Minister said in a statement.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and other senior officials are attending the meeting to present plans for the international community to support the country’s military, police judiciary.

We want to see coordinated efforts towards finding Somali solutions to the Somali problems. London conference offers that opportunity and that is why we remain hopeful. We thank the British government for taking the lead and co-hosting the conference.” Shirdon said.

Oxfam urges leaders to invest in
peace and economic development

NAIROBI (SM) — International aid agency Oxfam on Wednesday called on Somali and world leaders to invest in durable peace, stressing that blending stability and economic development was crucial for the Horn of Africa nation.

Oxfam Somalia Media Lead, Geno Teofilo said the leaders should support the jobless youth to get employment as well as farmers to prepare for poor rains to avoid a cycle of food insecurity in the Horn of Africa nation.

For lasting peace in Somalia, there needs to be a combination of stability and economic development. More guns will not bring peace to Somalia, and could make things worse for Somalis unless leaders also invest in human rights training for police and government soldiers,” Teofilo said in Nairobi.

His remarks come a day after the conclusion of the London Conference on Somalia which agreed on the need for the international community to support the Somalia government’s plans in security, justice and public financial management.

In a communiqué issued at the end of a one-day conference on Tuesday, participants also agreed on several measures to be taken in order to assist the Horn of Africa country in its reconstruction and stabilization efforts.

The conference, which was attended by 54 friends and partners of Somalia, also endorsed the tripartite dialogue initiated by the Somali and Kenyan governments alongside UNHCR to develop a framework for sustainable returns and looked forward to the forthcoming conference in Nairobi.

Teofilo said the security forces in the Horn of Africa nation need to be equipped to address sexual violence, respect human rights and safeguard humanitarian law.

In all the new initiatives and plans for Somalia, we must not forget that more than one million people still rely on humanitarian aid, and malnutrition rates are still among the highest in the world,” he said.

He said it will take genuine investment in healthcare, education and business for the country to recover from decades of conflict and drought.

By supporting young men to find jobs and farmers to prepare for poor rains, we could help support real change in Somalia,” Teofilo said.

Kenya says to consult over re-
patriation of Somali refugees

NAIROBI (SM) — Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said his government will consult with the Somali authorities and other key players to develop modalities for the safe, orderly return and resettlement of Somali refugees.

Kenyatta, who returned on Friday from Ethiopia where he attended the 21st Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government, called on regional nations to support the initiative.

Addressing the summit, Kenyatta said consultations will culminate in the organization of an international conference on the safe return of Somali refugees co-chaired by Kenya and Somalia.

The Head of State also urged the people of Somalia across the world to support and participate in the reconstruction and re- establishment of governance and socio-economic infrastructures now that peace and normalcy is returning to their country,” said a statement issued in Nairobi upon his return.

Kenyatta also reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to the search for peace and stability in Somalia. Towards this end, the president said the rebuilding and reforming of the Somali security sector which forms an essential part of the stabilization process, should be holistic, inclusive, logically sequenced and prioritized.

Additionally, president Kenyatta called on the Somali Federal Government to develop mechanisms that will prevent the diversion of arms into wrong hands following the lifting of the arms embargo on the country by the UN Security Council,” the statement said.

He stressed that the measures adopted by Somalia should be in compliance with the international norms and standards.

He emphasized that the Somali government also needs to guarantee states in the region that the lifting of the arms embargo will not lead to the illegal acquisition of dangerous arms by potentially renegade forces.

The IGAD leaders welcomed the Somali government’s National Stabilization Plan and reiterated the need for all inclusive processes particularly the ongoing efforts towards setting up Somali regional administration and stabilization efforts.

The processes are to be anchored on five principals – leadership, respect of the country’s provisional constitution, all inclusive consultative process, supportive role of IGAD based on the priorities of the Somali government and fighting the Al- Shabaab as the primary focus of the Somali government, the AMISOM, regional and international partners, the Communique said.

The IGAD leaders also stressed the need for the processes to include a framework for sustainable and gradual return programme for refugees with the active participation of the Somalis in the Diaspora.