Media Statement

31 May 2012

Deputy Minister Fransman participates in the Istanbul II Conference on Somalia

International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman is leading a South African delegation to the Second Istanbul Conference on Somalia. The two-day conference begins today, 31 May 2012, in Istanbul.

The Conference is jointly hosted by the Republic of Turkey and the United Nations (UN) and is a follow-up to the Istanbul I Conference on Somalia of May 2010, themed “Preparing Somalia’s Future: Goals for 2015”.

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga, recently stated that Somalia is entering its most critical stage as the end of the transitional period is fast approaching in August 2012. He called on the international community to boost efforts to assist Somalia.

The Istanbul Conference is expected to provide the international community with an opportunity to adopt common positions on the future of Somalia. The event will aim at taking stock of the progress in the implementation of the September 2011 Mogadishu Roadmap, as well as identifying immediate actions in the political, security, recovery and development spheres. These measures should enable a smooth end of the transition by 20 August 2012 and the period after the transition.

Various other leaders from the immediate region and from the broader international community, including the UN, are expected to attend the Conference.

It will be recalled that International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane met the Somali Foreign Minister, Mr Abdullahi Haji Hassan Mohamed, in South Africa on 13 March 2012.  During the meeting South Africa and Somalia signed an Agreement on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations. Minister Nkoana-Mashabane also announced that South Africa would allocate R100 million to providing capacity and institution building, socio-economic support, as well as specified training in key government sectors in Somalia.

In follow-up to this undertaking the Department of International Relations and Cooperation led a multi-sectoral visit to Mogadishu in late April 2012 to determine, in consultation with the Somali authorities, the best way to assist the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in terms of capacity - and institution-building and socio-economic support. South African authorities are currently assessing their approaches regarding provision of the envisaged assistance to Somalia.

President Jacob Zuma also met with the TFG President, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, on the sidelines of the African Diaspora Summit to discuss the progress made thus far by the TFG regarding the preparations for the end of transitional period by August 2012.

For further information, please contact Mr. Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Co-operation

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