Photos - Office of Somali President
At a time when concerns are growing over the anarchy and political turmoil gripping Somalia, a major global conference on the troubled nation kicked off yesterday in İstanbul, with the host country expecting the conference to give members of the international community comprehensive insight into issues in Somalia.
|On the first day of the three-day conference, senior officials from 55 countries started closed-door meetings to lay the groundwork for the main event of the conference today, which will be attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.Several international organizations, including the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), are also being represented at the conference, which is being held in line with a decision by the International Somalia Contact Group, which brings together several Western governments and donors, made during a December 2009 meeting in Jeddah under the auspices of the UN and within the framework of the Djibouti Peace Process.|
The Djibouti Peace Process is a 2008 peace accord signed in neighboring Djibouti between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) that was meant to pave the way for the cessation of all armed conflict across the country, which has had no functioning government for nearly two decades and has been beset by factional violence, most recently with fundamentalist militants.
Senior officials yesterday focused on political and security affairs, while today several round-table meetings will be held with the participation of businesspersons and investors to debate ways of strengthening Somalia’s economy and reconstructing and developing Somalia.
According to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Ankara aims to address all aspects of the Djibouti Peace Process’ main titles: “security,” “political cooperation” and “reconstruction and development.” An “İstanbul Declaration” is expected to be adopted at the closing of the conference on Sunday.
Last week, speaking at a session of the UN Security Council, of which Turkey is a non-permanent member, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, hailed the İstanbul conference.
Ould-Abdallah expressed his hope that the conference would address security issues and global threats including piracy and also provide a platform for the Somali private sector, international business representatives and governments to launch new initiatives for reconstruction and job creation.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, highlighted the utmost importance Ankara attaches to Somalia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, peace and stability.
“It is important to build stability in Somalia as soon as possible to ensure regional security and international peace. Turkey supports efforts aimed at this goal and the Somalia Transitional Federal Government’s ‘open door’ policy towards all opposition groups,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement released earlier this week, pledging the continuation of Turkey’s support for overcoming the crisis in Somalia and maintaining peace and security in the war-torn country.
|TODAY’S ZAMAN ANKARA |