The meeting’s main objectives are to underscore the importance of Italy’s commitment to fostering a resolution to the crisis in Somalia, examine the prospects of the Federal Transitional Institutions, and to stress the need for the Mogadishu government’s concrete commitment to re-establishing peace in the country. Minister Frattini, who considers the Somalia dossier one of Italy’s top foreign policy priorities, will also be present at Berlusconi’s encounter with Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo”.
The meeting, convened on the request of Somalia, is taking place seven months prior to the end of the Mogadishu Federal Institutions’ transition period. Premier “Farmajo” has set up a more manageable government than those of the past (17 ministers), and will probably ask Italy and the international community for support in involving the most cooperative part of the Somali Diaspora in bringing peace back to the country.
Italy, as the ministry’s Director General for the Countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, Rosa Anna Coniglio, explained, “will have to evaluate” relations with Somalia, and the Somali premier must “clarify what his plans are” for the final seven months of his mandate, which should close the transitional phase and lead to stable institutions and a legitimate government, as envisaged in the 2008 Djibouti Accord. The present Somali government will have to complete “concrete steps” in the implementation of what are known as the “transitional tasks”, i.e. a national reconciliation strategy, development of governance capacity and re-instatement of essential services for the people. And Italy “will do everything necessary to help, with the understanding, however, that “ownership of the process must be Somalia’s”.
The Somali premier’s mission to Rome follows one to New York, where he held meetings behind closed doors with the Security Council, and is Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s first visit to Italy since taking up his post, confirming that Italy is considered a key partner in the Horn of Africa and an indispensible interlocutor in the process of stimulating and steering the international community’s support for Somalia’s stablisation.
Italy plays an advocacy role within the EU framework on behalf of the organisation’s greater role in this process. Minister Frattini has involved the EU in a profound reflection on Somalia and sent papers to its Special Representative for Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton containing concrete proposals that have been examined in the External Affairs Council.
On the financial front, €27 million euro has been earmarked for two years, to be divided among: the Italia-Africa peace facility (a fund managed through the African Union and that presents Italy with projects to fund); support for AMISOM (the AU’s military mission in Somalia); support for Somali governance (ministries of foreign affairs, interior, communications, and Radio Magadishu); the Italian Cooperation’s water, healthcare, education and anti-drought programmes.
On the theme of piracy, it is Italy’s belief that, in addition to the forces at sea (currently engaged in two naval missions in the Horn of Africa, for the NATO and the UN), it is necessary to develop the coastal regions that pirates are sailing from. Italy has also proposed the establishment of a special ad hoc tribunal for pirates, as well as for the terrorists that control half of Somalia