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Mr Prime Minister [of Somalia, Hassan Ali Khayre], it is really a pleasure and a point of personal satisfaction to be here in Mogadishu, meeting with you.
We have met several times in the past years. I think one of the cornerstones of our common engagement has been last year in Brussels during the Conference we hosted to support Somalia [Somalia Partnership Forum]. But it is my first time in Mogadishu, and I feel the emotion and the honour to be finally here.
My presence here on the ground, together with my team and with the European Union team that is every day on the ground here in Mogadishu, is the best testimony of friendship, partnership, and support.
We recognise that Somalia is first and foremost of strategic relevance and importance, not only for Somali people, for the region, for Africa, but also for Europe and the international community.
Since a few years, as you said, we have invested a lot of political capital and also financial resources to support the reform agenda you have embarked upon with the support of the European Union and the international community in all different sectors.
In the economic field, I am glad to see that this is delivering some results. You will continue to have all our support to continue achieving these results.
In the security sector, we know how difficult and challenging this is, but also on this file we have started to see some steps leading towards achievements and elements that start to be delivered. I am also here to encourage and support these steps, not only personally, but with all our teams and with our civilian and military presence here. As you know, it is at the service of the implementation of this work on the security reform agenda.
Also on the political reform agenda - and we know very well how the three are interlinked - let me stress how important the review of the provisional constitution is and how it is important to have democratic institutions that can be strengthened in preparation for regional and general elections over the next two years.
What is obviously key on our side is maintaining our support. And I think that the people in the country recognise the the only way of overcoming and managing the challenges that are there – and they are many, nobody knows that better than you– is unity, cooperation and a sense of responsibility that is shared across the country - and beyond the country, across the region and the international community.
My invitation to all the people of Somalia and especially to their leaders is to come together in the spirit of good faith and with a shared sense of responsibility, put the interest of peace, security, economic development and democracy of the country first, because so much is at stake. The first results are clearly underway. And as you [Hassan Ali Khayre, Prime Minister of Somalia] said, when a couple of years ago we started investing so heavily in this positive reform agenda of this country, believing in the possibility for this to come true, many were skeptical. I think it is the best way of injecting some optimism into difficult times to show that some results are coming.
This is not the moment of being distracted or thinking that going backwards could be an option. I think this is the moment for all Somalis to show leadership, as you have been doing [Hassan Ali Khayre, Prime Minister of Somalia], to stay strong and focused in the spirit of dialogue and mutual respect and to recognise that the role of leadership in a country is shared and has as a first responsibility to deliver to the people in terms of economic opportunities, in terms of security and in terms of democratic institutions.
You know that you can count on the European Union. We have always been there. We have always been the first and probably most stubborn partner you have had, also the most frank one. Whenever we see things that are not going into the direction we believe is the one convenient for the country, we are never shy to point that out, but always in the spirit of respect, partnership, cooperation, and ownership on your side.
We have been there in the most difficult moments. We are proud to be here today accompanying the country towards a better present and future on all sides – on the economic, security, political and humanitarian side. You know we have always invested a lot in that field as well. Today, hopefully, we can work towards some concrete achievements. As I said, this is the spirit of partnership and friendship that we share. Be sure that the European Union will continue to be at your side, supporting your hard work as you deliver on the results that you have committed to deliver.
Thank you for the attention.