Delegation of the European Union to Australia

Opening remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the EU-Somalia Partnership Forum

Bruxelles, 17/07/2018 - 17:34, UNIQUE ID: 180717_30
Remarks

Check against delivery!

Dear President [of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed], Margot [Wallstrom, Foreign Minister of Sweden], dear friends, It is a pleasure for me to see so many of us gathered today with commitment to a peaceful and stronger Somalia.

I would first of all convey our appreciation and our thanks to all of you and your delegation for your presence and for your being here, first of all to the President [Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed].

Slowly but steadily, Somalia is emerging from decades of war and instability. Since we met in London one year ago, we have seen incredible progress unfolding in Somalia. Since our meeting in London last year, the government under you Mr. President [Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed] and under the Prime Minister [Hassan Ali Khaire] has put together an ambitious reform agenda – for inclusive politics, economic recovery, and a security transition plan.

Somalia is starting to take responsibility for its own security, as we see in Mogadishu. You have agreed on an electoral model for the elections in 2020, as well as how to share resources between the Federal Government and the Federal Member States.

We all know that the road has been and will be bumpy. The terrorist attacks against State buildings are regular reminders of this. At the same time, the people of Somalia are confident that war and instability will not be forever.

There is a new hope in Somalia. The economy is slightly picking up; new investments are flowing in the country; Hundreds of Somali expatriates are putting faith in their country – returning to their home-towns and opening new businesses.

It is our duty – as international community – to support the people of Somalia's hope, and the government's reform agenda.

We all know that access to financial resources is essential to any reconstruction process. The Somali government is now raising more money than ever through domestic revenues. This is an important achievement that we must accompany and encourage.

Today’s Forum should also support Somalia on the path to debt relief and access to lending from the international financial institutions.  On the European side, I am glad to announce today an additional package of around €200 million in support of Somalia’s stabilisation.

This includes a new €100-million contract for state-building and state resilience. We want, in particular, to help the Federal Government deliver on its citizens’ needs, and we want to help improve trust between the Federal Government and Federal Member States.

Somalia can and should be a strong federal country, where central and local authorities work together – each one with its own competencies and specificities – towards the common goal of serving the people of Somalia. There is no better way to foster a sense of belonging and of citizenship, within a common Somali homeland.

The rest of the package will help rebuild state structures – and, particularly, security forces – mainly in areas that have recently gone back to the control of the Somali authorities.

This is also a contribution to the government's Transition Plan, to help the Somali authorities take full responsibility for their own country and for their citizens' security. Because we all know that economic recovery must go hand in hand with an improved security situation.

In preparation of today’s Forum, the European Union co-hosted with Somalia a Security Conference here in Brussels. Our engagement for peace and security in Somalia continues to be as strong as ever. As you know, the European Union is active in Somalia with three military and civilian missions, training the police and the armed forces, and fighting piracy off the Horn of Africa’s coasts. We have recently extended our missions until the end of 2020. We have also adapted their mandate to an evolving situation on the ground and to new needs from our Somali partners.

The European Union has also been a leading international supporter of AMISOM [African Union Mission in Somalia], the African Union’s mission to Somalia, since its very inception in 2007. And I would like to thank my friend, Commissioner of the African Union Commission [Smail Chergui], because we have worked very well together in this as well as in many other fields.

Thanks to AMISOM, your African brothers and sisters have given a great contribution to peace in Somalia, and they continue to pay a high price in terms of human lives.

Peace in Somalia is an interest we all share, and the peace-keeping mission is still essential for the time being. So the European Union will continue to support AMISOM, and in a few minutes I will sign, together with the African Union's Commissioner for Peace and Security, my friend Smail Chergui, a new €114 million package to finance AMISOM's activities in the second half of this year.

However, for security and stabilisation to be sustainable, the Somali authorities have to be in the driving seat when dealing with security in their country. This will not happen overnight, we all know it, but progress has happened and continues to happen.

The government and the Federal Member States have agreed on a Transition Plan, which has been fully endorsed by the international community. The Plan is to be operationalised in three pilot locations: the transition will be phased and based on clear conditions. This transition entails a gradual assumption of security control by Somali forces.

In the meantime, AMISOM will continue to evolve in parallel, as conditions are met, with the final goal to withdraw and hand over to integrated, trained and effective Somali forces. This process will only be successful if we all keep a unity of purpose, following the path chosen by the Somali authorities.

And here, the African Union, AMISOM and the Troop Contributing Countries have a crucial role to play. It is essential that we operate through the coordination structures we have agreed to, in a transparent and complementary fashion.

This is a very special moment for the Horn of Africa – I am also glad to have our friends from the region here - and for the broader region. Ethiopia and Eritrea have taken a historic decision towards peace and reconciliation. This is a message to all of us: every obstacle can be overcome with political will and with courage.

As the UN Secretary General [António Guterres] said, I quote: “A new wind of hope is blowing across Africa”. We have a collective duty to support such hope, both inside Somalia and in the region.

International tensions only help Al-Shabab. We all have an interest in a peaceful and secure Somalia. We all have an interest in a peaceful and secure Horn of Africa. This is our common region, at the crossroads between Central Africa and the Gulf, between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The “wind of hope” in the country and in the region is an opportunity we must and we cannot waste – for the people of Somalia, but also for our common, and troubled world.

I thank you very much.

Editorial Sections: