Tanzania: EC adopts conclusions on Somalia ahead of London conference

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - A new partnership agreement between Somalia and the international community is essential if there is to be real progress in delivering on the main security, political and development priorities over the next four years, the European Council concluded in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday.

The new agreement is expected to be adopted at the London Somalia Conference on 11 May 2017, but Monday's conclusions would serve as guidance for the EU in its approach to this conference, according to the Council's conclusions made available to PANA in Dar es Salaam.

Meanwhile, the Council has welcomed the recent conclusion of the electoral process in Somalia, the election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mahamed Farmaajo and the formation of a new government, as well as the many new members of Parliament, including an increase in  representation of women.

The Council recognised the crucial challenges facing the new leadership, in particular the unfolding humanitarian crisis, and reaffirmed the EU's long-term commitment to the country.

Welcoming the swift formation of the Somali Cabinet of ministers, the EC said: "It is now essential and urgent to start delivering on the multiple priorities Somalia has to address. Expectations among Somali citizens, Somalia's neighbours and all of its international partners are high."

The EU recognised the 2016 electoral process as an important step, but highlighted the importance of one-person, one-vote elections in 2020 and called for an early start of the preparations of a credible political road-map to reach that objective.

"This road-map should include a process for tackling important issues that need to be resolved in the electoral law that should provide the legislative framework for the elections. It links to the need for serious steps in improving Rule of Law in Somalia including finalising the constitutional review process."

In its conclusions on Somalia, the EU has also noted the increased representation of women in Parliament and the new Cabinet. It underlined the need to build on the gains already made and continue ensuring increased women's representation and participation in the Somali political process with a view to improving democratic inclusiveness, as well as the situation of women in the country.

However, the EU was alarmed by the unfolding humanitarian crisis due to the drought in the Horn of Africa, for which Somalia is particularly impacted. Out of the 6.2 million people in Somalia in need of food assistance, an estimated 2.9 million face crisis and emergency levels of food insecurity between now and the peak of the agricultural lean season in June.

In response, the EU has mobilised more than €140 million notably to drought specific humanitarian assistance in the Horn, including nearly €80 million for Somalia. Several EU Member States have also bilaterally committed significant humanitarian assistance.

"The new federal leadership must urgently confront the severe humanitarian consequences of the drought," the EU urged, calling on the international community to scale up efforts to respond to the needs.

The EU has emphasised the urgency of ensuring security throughout Somalia by establishing a new nationally agreed and inclusive security architecture. It also called for the new leadership to immediately address corruption and build credible institutions, in order to deliver key services to the Somali population, including in the areas of health and education.

Assuring its support to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM and the essential role it plays in maintaining security and containing Al-Shabaab, the EU stressed that a Somalia-owned security plan should include the gradual, conditions-based, sustainable transfer of the responsibility of providing security from AMISOM to Somalia national forces from late 2018.

"The EU's support to AMISOM has been one of the key contributions to Somalia's progress in recent years. Its continued support needs to drive more effective action by AMISOM troops and capacity development of Somali security forces. It calls on international partners to join these efforts and contribute to AMISOM in view of ensuring its sustainable transition," it stated.  
-0- PANA AR/MA 3April2017

03 april 2017 10:30:08

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