International community leaders pledge support and aid for Somalia
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
A large group of journalists from several nations has covered the Istanbul summit. DHA Photo
The Somali people need concrete support, Commission of the African Union Chairperson Jean Ping said during his speech at the second Istanbul Conference on Somalia on June 1.
“We are in a period when they need us the most. We cannot refrain from giving them support,” he said. Noting that a few months are left to the end of the transitional period in the country, Ping said the country is currently is in a period of establishing a constituent assembly and a new constitution with people who have faith in the peace process.
“Istanbul is a junction point of West and East both in terms of geography and the alliance of civilizations,” he said. Praising Turkey’s direct aid to Somalia, he said Turkey’s activities there had saved many lives. Ping thanked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his help. U.N. General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser said the purpose of the conference was to discuss concrete development, political and economic progress in Somalia. The international community is ready to help Somalia as the transitional period approaches an end, he said. The new period should meet the expectations of the Somali people, Al-Nasser said, adding that he considered re-establishing a United Nations Political Office for Somalia important. Blocking the Somali people’s access to humanitarian aid can never be accepted, he added, referring to piracy problems in the country. While 1 billion people live on the vast continent of Africa, Somalis are the veterans of Africa, Ugandan President Yoweri K. Museveni said. “I congratulate the Somalis. They are doing beneficial things and are very disciplined. It is important to provide basic services for hundreds thousands of Somalis.”
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza said his country would help to stabilize Somalia. “Helping the Somali people is very important,” he said. There have been many positive developments since the first Istanbul conference organized for Somalia, he said, adding that they would continue to give the support the Somali people very much deserve. New and realistic suggestions should be offered to accelerate the peace process in Somalia, he said.
Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh said he hoped concrete steps would be taken after the
Istanbul conference. Guelleh said a way out should be found to clear up the refugee problem stemming from Somalia.
“What is happening in Somalia is a human tragedy,” he said. Noting that the term of the country’s caretaker government ends in August, Guelleh said this conference was a significant chance. A fair and an egalitarian system should be established in Somalia, he said, offering Djibouti’s support for the Turkish government’s vision on the Somalia issue.
The conference is important for laying a foundation for a strong Somalia, Nigerian Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo said, adding that the country had just come out of a humanitarian crisis. “Somali has great opportunities,” said Sambo, noting that international institutions supported the country. Financial assistance to Somalia is very important because it is crucial to designing a healthy road map during the transition period, he said.
Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said he hoped African countries would continue to act with solidarity, which could bring sustainable peace to Somalia. “[Solidarity] is needed to consolidate peace and implement the rule of law,” he said.
Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Basindawa called the international community for support and help, adding that piracy left Somalia in a difficult situation. Italy is ready to support Somalia, especially with distributing aid, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said.
Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn said they hoped a strong state, Parliament and constitution would emerge represent all Somalis.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who also attended the Istanbul conference, said the security situation in Mogadishu had improved. Three of his country’s ministers have visited this year, he added.
“All eyes are now on Somalia’s leaders to ensure that they deliver a peaceful handover of power and succession when the transition formally ends in August,” he said in a statement on May 31.