Doha – Information Office - November 03
The Ministerial Meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Somalia was held in Doha today with the aim of mobilizing more international support to establish security, development and stability for the Somali people.
HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani stressed the importance of the meeting. In his speech at the opening of the meeting, His Excellency said that it comes in the context of the keen attention, that Qatar attaches to Somalia as part of its role as Chair of the Contact Group and to provide various forms of support to Somalia.
His Excellency extended thanks the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for preparing a report on the situation in Somalia, which was presented to the meeting.
The meeting reflects the consensus of the OIC Member States on the importance of securing the future of Somalia, he said adding: "It is time for Somali citizens to live a safe and stable life, which can only be achieved through realizing stability, security and creating new prospects for the comprehensive economic, social and cultural development that the Somali people deserve".
In this context, he stressed the importance of complementing the gains achieved on the ground, namely achieving national consensus, forming a federal government, establishing executive and legislative institutions and building national institutions capable of leading the country and achieving the aspirations of the Somali people in security, stability and development.
HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs urged continued efforts to complete the pillars of democracy in Somalia to realize the 2016 vision; holding the general elections scheduled for 2020-2021 and establishing and consolidating the principles of transparency, social justice and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
He pointed out that "there are many serious challenges still facing Somalia, and we should provide all aspects of support for facing these challenges. Perhaps, the most prominent of these challenges is terrorism and violent extremism." Despite the gradual progress in facing the control of the militant groups, terrorist attacks continue, he said.
In this context, His Excellency reiterated Qatar's condemnation of these criminal attacks, which aim to undermine stability and national unity, stressing the importance of intensifying efforts to eradicate them and implement the national strategy and action plan to prevent and combat violent extremism.
HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani pointed out that the challenges facing Somalia are not limited to achieving security and stability, but extends to overcoming natural disasters, the most important of which are severe droughts that are constantly sweeping the country.
In this regard, His Excellency praised the positive role of the countries that have provided assistance to the Somali people, stressing the importance of development support and investment in projects that support infrastructure and production in the long run.
He also stressed the importance of working to create jobs and employment for young people, who are the largest demographic sector in Somalia, not only by stimulating economic growth but also by contributing to countering violent extremism.
He also praised Kuwait's hosting of the donors' conference to support the education sector next year, and commended the Republic of Turkey's proposal of sending a fact-finding mission to drought-affected countries, including the Republic of Somalia, to assess needs.
His Excellency stressed that the State of Qatar will continue to be a key supporter of Somalia, and will spare no effort in providing the necessary assistance, pointing to the provision of aid for the Somali federal government's plans and programs in several areas in partnership with the United Nations and the World Bank.
He explained that the State of Qatar has recently provided a USD 25 million aid to the Somali government as contribution to the debt reduction of Somalia at the World Bank, and that it supports the development of security capabilities, economic empowerment programs, creation of job for young people, the Trust Fund for Peace and Reconciliation and the implementation of development projects including roads, schools, hospitals in addition to other projects that meet the needs of the Somali people.
He went on saying: "In this context, and based on the principle of integration between security and development and the importance of protecting achievements, joint investment between the Qatari and Somali governments has been announced for the port of Hobyo, as well as support for the modernization of the military and security sector of Somalia in coordination with the United Nations, especially UNAMSIL, considering the importance of aligning with the efforts led by the African Union through the African peacekeeping mission in Somalia".
He also referred to the military grant provided by the Qatari armed forces to its Somali counterpart.
Concluding his speech, His Excellency reaffirmed Qatar's continued support to the Somali government and people to realize their hopes and aspirations in building their state and achieving a prosperous future for coming generations.
Meanwhile, OIC Undersecretary for Political Affairs Yousef Al Dobeay praised the efforts of the State of Qatar and its initiative to call for a meeting of the Organization's Contact Group on Somalia with the aim of mobilizing more coordinated international support to build the structure and institutions of Somalia and establish security and stability on its territory.
Al Dobeay affirmed the organization's commitment to supporting Somalia, reviewing its efforts and activities in it, which is one of the founding members of the organization and has played a prominent role in its efforts over the past 50 years and praised the organization's efforts in Somalia.
Al Dobeay also noted that Somalia has witnessed many positive developments on the security and political levels and these efforts are in a smooth transition of power in the country. He also pointed out that the federal government of Somalia needs a lot of continued state institutions building; encouraging national dialogue and the participation of all components of Somali society in all areas of life, so as to usher in a new era for Somalia, reaffirming OIC's support for the efforts to consolidate democracy and the ongoing preparations for the gradual handover of security from African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) to the Somali National Security Forces, calling on Member States and the international community to assist Somalis so that they can unite their country. He further stressed the readiness of the organization to help Somalia to face the threats and challenges.
For his part, HE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Ahmed Isse Awad hailed Qatar's hosting of this meeting and its efforts to support the Somali people. He also noted the role of the OIC and the member states of the Contact Group for the success of the meeting, saying that the Somali people place high hopes on this meeting. He further pointed out that the process of building the Somali state is witnessing a tangible development where political stability, security improvement and economic achievements have been realized.
He also pointed out that Somalia now has a national advisory council for economic development, comprising international economists, which have significantly contributed to the development of solid economic policies; increasing income and covering the expenses of large sectors. He also emphasized how this helped the Somali government to move forward and overcome the fourth stage and negotiations in debt relief in preparation for new promising investment partnerships.
On the security situation in Somalia, HE the Minister said that the security sector is a priority for the Somali government, terrorism, represented in ISIS and Al Shabab in the forefront of the challenges facing the Republic of Somalia, and to face this and achieve stability on all the territory of Somalia, the government gave priority to restructuring and modernization of the security sector, which enabled the retaking of large areas and important cities of terrorists.
The Somali Foreign Minister stressed the continuation of open confrontation with terrorists, saying, we are still liberating region after another, which reduced direct terrorist attacks and helped in retaking some strategic citizens.
He stressed on the efforts of the Somali government in building the foundations of economic recovery, the most important of which is to seek self-sufficiency and enhance cooperation with others for partnership and joint investment.
He also added that the assistance Somalia is asking today is the real solidarity to support priority development projects, to raise the productive capacity of the country's exports, open markets for Somalia products, cooperate with Somalia on the issue of debt, engage with Somalia in meaningful investments, and stand with Somalia in protecting its territory and resources.
HE the Minister added that his country views Somalia Support Fund as an important opportunity and a practical translation of the values and principles of the OIC.
He also called on OIC to follow the example of the World Bank and the African Bank to move the economy in Somalia forward.
Concluding his speech, HE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Ahmed Isse Awad praised Kuwait's efforts in support of Somalia, particularly in the field of education and called for supporting the success of the upcoming general conference in Kuwait to support education in Somalia.