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Somalia: Terzi meets with Premier Ali: Italy still supporting stabilisation

Italy is “strongly determined to continue its support for Somalia’s efforts at stabilization, and especially on the security front”, Minister Giulio Terzi assured at the end of a meeting today at the foreign ministry in Rome with the Prime Minister of the Somali Transitional Government Abdiweli Mohamed Ali. “A fundamental aspect of our relations with our Somali friends”, Terzi underscored, “is our support for development and the eradication of poverty”.

In addition, Terzi believes that “the process of transition in Somalia, which has been going on for 8 years now, must come to an end, according to the principles of Garowe (guidelines adopted last summer by the Somali government for the establishment of new institutions), which must be enacted by next summer”. Speaking of the conference on Somalia to be held in London on 23 February, Terzi said he expected “the international community’s heavy commitment and strengthening of the stabilization process, in terms of security but also of the launch of a process leading to the creation of a new Constitution, a parliament and a government that is no longer transitional but the expression of the voice of the Somali population in all its various components”.

The Somali Prime Minister urged Italy to take a “guiding role in the peace process and in the reconstruction of Somalia”. “Ours is an historic friendship”, he added. “The Somali people have high expectations of the Italian government’s support for security and the further development of our institutions”.

As for the situation on the ground, Terzi asserted that the fundamentalist Shabaab rebels were in increasing difficulty both militarily and on the level of consensus”, and that the goal is to “undermine the environment of complicity and consensus that has allowed the Shabaab to root themselves in some areas” of Somalia.

With regard to piracy, “We will do everything possible to return the kidnapped to their families”, the Somali Prime Minister promised, referring to the abduction of the Italian ship Enrico Ievoli and its 18 crew members, six of whom are Italians. “We will do our best with our limited means”, Ali added, and that “a common strategy is needed” to confront the threat of piracy, which, he maintained, “is not only a Somali problem but a regional concern that involves the entire international community”.

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