President JG Zuma’s Remarks at the UN Secretary-General’s Mini Summit on Somalia, New York, 26 September 2012
Excellency the President of Somalia
Excellency the UN Secretary General
Ladies and gentlemen,
I wish at the outset to congratulate my dear brother, H.E. Hassan Sheik Mohamoud on being elected President of Somalia.
I look forward to working with you President Hassan, in both bilateral and in multilateral settings as we strengthen the South Africa-Somalia relationship and collaborate within the multilateral fora on matters of mutual interest.
I commend the people of Somalia on this historical step of starting a post transition government that shall chart a path towards governance, reconciliation, stability and development.
The Mini-Summit on Somalia comes at an opportune time.
The resolve and desire for peace shown by Somalis from all walks of life must be supported by the international community.
The lessons we have learnt from all governments that emerge from instability is that the population must see benefit in democratic governance lest they be swayed by those who thrive in chaos.
The new Somali government has a challenging task of delivering the fruits of governance in a still violently contested atmosphere.
The crucial support that the international community continues to provide to Somalia, through maintaining AMISOM, supporting social and economic projects will determine the success of this new government.
However, no amount of support can replace the important role of Somali leadership in building their country.
The Somali leadership is expected to play a very critical role in developing a vision that will serve to rally Somali stakeholders and international partners in our efforts at post-transition development.
If we agree on the importance of these foundational elements, it would then be imperative for us all to collaborate in extricating Somalia out of the ashes of desolation to a developmental path.
As we celebrate the dawn of this new beginning for Somalia we remain conscious that there remain those in Somalia, who although they are sons and daughters of Somalia, remain violently opposed to this new government.
To brandish them as terrorists and respond to them consistent with the brand we attach to them, has had persistent costs.
If Somalia is to move forward, its people cannot continue to be at war.
There is therefore a need to consider increasing our effort to encourage and provide incentives to those that remain outside the political spectrum for them to consider peaceful co-existence with the new Somalia government.
In this regard, a strategy for dialogue between all Somali stakeholders is imperative.
This, if managed properly, could help lead to reconciliation and tolerance in Somalia.
South Africa is committed to availing its expertise on the area of national reconciliation.
We had already agreed with the previous Transitional Federal Government that my country would work closely with Somalis in their reconciliation strategy and we renew our commitment to the new Somali government.
Sustainable peace is possible in Somalia.
The adoption of the provisional Constitution has set in place the foundation for building the pillars on which peace will thrive.
We need to direct our focus on providing support as Somalis implement the political and social compact reached by adopting their constitution.
Important work has already been done by Somalis and international partners in this regard.
South Africa believes that it is imperative that Somalia has adequate institutions of governance that will be able to focus on the immediate and long term priorities of the new government.
It is however also necessary that Somali institutions be strengthened to enable them to play their role also in the prevention and prosecution of piracy.
South Africa shall work with Somalia in rendering assistance in capacity building for Somalis to be able to manage the piracy situation.
South Africa will also work closely with local and international partners to ensure that Somalis are equipped to govern themselves.
I commend the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Ban Ki- Moon for convening this Mini-Summit on Somalia.
We applaud the tireless efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Somalia, His Excellency Augustine Mahiga.
This is a new dawn for Somalia. May it usher in peace, development and reconciliation for the benefit of the people of Somalia.
I Thank You.