Statement by Deputy Minister Ebrahim I Ebrahim during the High-Level Segment of the International Conference on Reconstruction and Development in Somalia, Istanbul, Turkey, 22 May 2010
Hon Special Representative of the Secretary-General;
Hon Prime Minister;
Excellencies; Ladies and Gentlemen;
The South African delegation expresses its sincere appreciation to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, for calling this crucial meeting and to the Government of Turkey for the hosting of this important event.
South Africa remains very concerned about the prevailing situation in Somalia and its impact on the countries of the East African region. The ongoing clashes in Mogadishu; south and central Somalia impact negatively on the ability of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to advance socio-economic and political stability in the country. In this regard the mortar attacks by insurgents on Somali Parliamentary buildings on 16 May 2010 are especially worrisome.
We at the same time welcome the recent agreements between the TFG and the Administration of Puntland as well as with Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaa to strengthen relations among each other. Regrettably, we have also noted that the Chairman of Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a, Ma'alin Mahmud Shaikh Hasan, declared on 7 May 2010 that the Addis Ababa agreement with the TFG has collapsed. Nonetheless, we still view the outreach and reconciliation process as a crucial step towards an inclusive political process in the country.
We also appreciate the efforts in the drafting of the new constitution for Somalia and believe that it would greatly assist to make the political process more inclusive and transparent.
South Africa remains convinced that the Djibouti peace process is the only viable option for peace in Somalia and we appeal on those role players outside this process to cease all hostilities and join the peace process. South Africa also supports the efforts of the UN, especially the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Somalia, the African Union (AU), the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and other role-players to augment the Djibouti process.
Le me also re-affirm South Africa’s support for the presence of AMISOM troops in Somalia and the difficult task they have in fulfilling their mandate. In this regard we welcome the recent deployment of additional troops for AMISOM by Uganda and Burundi to bring the troop strength of AMISOM to 6 000.
The activities of Somali pirates and expansion of their reach further into the Indian Ocean and territorial waters of members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are matters of grave concern. We believe that a strong and stable Somali Government would be able to effectively counter any such activities and that efforts to strengthen the TFG should be increased.
We have noted that more Somali people were internally displaced or have fled to neighbouring countries since the beginning of 2010. During the 2009/10 financial year the South African Government approved an amount of $ 200 000 as a contribution to the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) relief efforts in Somalia. South Africa will continue, where possible, to support the UN efforts towards the alleviation of the position of the internally displaced and refugees by, inter alia, making financial contribution to the UN relief efforts as we have done in the previous years.
It is my sincere hope that when we conclude our deliberations, we would have crafted a clear programme of action that will re-kindle hope for a future Somalia whose ordinary citizens can enjoy the fundamental freedoms including the freedom to live in dignity.
I thank you