Addis Ababa (HAN) October 3, 2015 – Public Diplomacy and Regional Investment Initiative News. Foreign Minister Dr Tedros, Foreign Minister of Italy, Paolo Gentiloni and Somalia’s Foreign Minister Abdisalam Hadiye Omer met at the margins of the 70th UN General Assembly in New York.
The meeting was organized under the initiative of Ethiopia, Current Chair of IGAD and Italy as chair of IGAD Partners Forum (IPF). On the occasion, Dr Tedros shared his optimism about changes both at security and political levels with gains of AMISOM over Alshabaab and regional state formation mounting by the day.
He said, “The regional state formation is slowly taking shape with formation of Jubaland South West and Central Regional state.” He pointed out that the formation of Jubaland state as per the Addis Ababa Agreement has improved security in Kismayo significantly paving way to concretize the political and security gains. Touching upon the newly liberated areas from Al-Shabaab, Dr Tedros said, the challenge remains in terms of making sure that basic social services and local administration are in place.
He, however, regretted that failure to honour pledges on donor’s side is holding back the provision of services which he said would have made great role in winning the confidence of the public and sustain the peace and security. He noted that IGAD and IGAD partners along with the Government of Somalia should work on availing the finance needed for the reconstruction of Somalia.
Dr Tedros also pointed out that it is important to organize a Somali business forum to change “the failing Somali narrative “and change stereotypes about the country. He noted that IGAD and its partners should also work to promote the view that Somalia is open for business. He further noted that strengthening AMISOM in coordinating command structure should be given due attention to bring out optimal gains from its operations in clearing Alshabaab.
Foreign Minister Omer on his part said that there are encouraging gains both at political and security domains in Somalia. He discussed the resolution of the disagreement over the formulation of the Jubbaland administration as praiseworthy achievement. He also noted that the discussion over the issue of conducting the election in 2016 is taking shape while also affirming his government’s steadfast position to hold the election and goals set in Vision 2016 within the timeframe.
He also raised the crisis in Yemen noting that the possible return of 700,000 to 900,000 Somalis could come as a challenge to the government of Somalia. He said “given the fragile situation in Somalia, massive return of refugees could create havoc.” He also noted the importance of integrating the various militias into the Somali National Army and institutionalizing the federal and regional relations as challenges that need to be addressed in due course of time.
He hailed the idea of hosting business forum to encourage investment flows. He further noted a steady growth of investment in fisheries, energy and livestock business and expressed his hopes that there will be an increase with the passing of the new investment law.
Paolo Gentiloni also praised the idea of hosting a business forum in Somalia and assured Italy’s support. He said, “Putting in place the basics to attract investment is where Somali government should strive.” He added that IGAD should work on the integration of militias including the Ahlu Sunna Waljama.
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