Ethiopia: Mahamat calls for greater solidarity in addressing humanitarian crisis in Somalia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat has  travelled to Mogadishu, Somalia, on his first official visit, four days after taking up his new position as the chief executive of the Commission.

"This visit to Somalia demonstrates his commitment and the determination of the African Union towards the restoration of peace and security in the country," the AU Commission said in a statement on Saturday.

The visit comes at a crucial time for Somalia and the AU after Somalia successfully concluded its parliamentary and presidential elections, and earlier this month, the African Union commemorated the 10th year since the deployment of its Mission in the Horn of Africa country, known as AMISOM.

"There is no doubt that the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has laid the foundation for enhanced security, governance and peace in Somalia," the statement noted.

Mahamat cautioned that the gains were fragile and that extremists groups were bent on reversing the progress made if support for Somalia is not sustained and coordinated.

He appealed to the international community to provide the necessary support to the Somali security forces so they can assume their primary responsibility to provide security to the people of Somalia as well as to AMISOM in order to create a more conducive environment for local reconciliation and stabilization efforts, which are part of AMISOM’s transformation and its eventual exit strategy.

The Chairperson congratulated the newly elected President of the Federal Government of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” and welcomed his determination to fight against Al Shabaab, strengthen Somali National Security Forces, fight against corruption and to do everything to relieve the people of their suffering due to the drought.

Further, the Chairperson expressed deep concern on the dire humanitarian situation in Somalia, and the broader region.

He observed that the ongoing drought has brought immense suffering to the people of Somalia- compounding the continued and repeated displacement of the Somali people.

Over a quarter of a million people have been displaced since the end of 2016 to date as a result of the drought, and close to 3 million are in emergency and crisis with an additional 3.3 million in stress. Lives and livelihoods have been lost as well.

Mahamat welcomed the priority the President of Somalia has placed on addressing the drought situation, and the active efforts of the National Drought Committee.

"It is of major concern however that the international emergency response remains grossly underfunded. Without timely and adequate resourcing, lives and livelihoods cannot be saved," he said. "At this time of hope and optimism for Somalia, it is important that we collectively mobilize to ensure that gains made are not lost and the people of Somalia are central."

In this respect, he called on the international community to do more in support of the Federal Government of Somalia in addressing the humanitarian crisis in the country.

The Chairperson announced a symbolic donation of the AU of US$ 100,000 to assist the victims of the drought and expressed his wish that others should emulate the gesture. He also called on AU Member States and the private sector in particular, as well as the wider international community to demonstrate similar solidarity to save lives and livelihoods in Somalia.

He recalled that 10 years ago, the AU and its Members States demonstrated commendable solidarity when the AMISOM  was deployed under very difficult circumstances.

The Chairperson visited AMISOM personnel at the AMISOM Headquarters, and laid a wreath in memory of the fallen African soldiers who lost their lives in the service of peace in Somalia. He also  expressed the appreciation of the AU and paid a tribute to the African civilians, police and military personnel serving in Somalia.

In addition, Mahamat expressed his gratitude to the AMISOM Troop and Police Contributing Countries for their sacrifices to the promotion of peace dividends in Somalia as he reiterated his priority of ensuring that AMISOM personnel are fully supported and called on the international community to partner with the AU in realizing this objective.

At the same time, he is re-assured the people of Somalia and the international community that AMISOM will continue to uphold to highest standard of compliance and accountability in the delivery of their mandate in Somalia.
-0- PANA AR 18March2017

18 march 2017 20:22:57

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