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Somalia – London Conference (23 February). Strong demand for Italian role, a meeting in Rome in near future, says Terzi

Mobilising the international community to make a stronger commitment to the pacification process in Somalia. That is the goal of the international conference on Somalia taking place in London on 23 February 2012, where Italy will be represented by Minister Terzi. A goal that can achieved by taking advantage of the gradual improvement in security conditions, the reforms under way and the closer dialogue between the transitional institutions and a number of regional and local authorities.

Participation at the highest level is expected: the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Arab League Secretary General El Arabi, the President of the African Union, Ping, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are all expected to attend.

With all due respect for Somali sovereignty, Italy and the international partners expect the authorities in Mogadishu to respect the commitments they have undertaken and implement, by 20 August 2012, the end of the transition period, the institutional reforms that Somalia needs. Most notably, the adoption of a new Constitution and the reform of the Parliament.

Italy will play its part by supporting this process in the most concrete, coherent and effective way possible. The aim is to help the Somali people to embark on a new political process of reconciliation, reconstruction and democratisation, as Foreign Minister Terzi reiterated to the Somali Prime Minister, Abdiweli, during the latter’s recent visit to Rome. Our country is also providing financial and training support for the Somali institutions and armed forces. Moreover, Italy is actively engaged in relieving the critical humanitarian situation of the Somali people, afflicted by over 20 years of conflict.

Countries in and beyond the region have expressed “a strong demand for an Italian role” in Somalia, explained Minister Terzi in a hearing before the Senate. He reported too that he has proposed that the next meeting of the Contact Group should be held in Rome.

Italy has taken “a formal step” with Catherine Ashton, added Terzi, by sending a letter, along with other European countries, pressing for additional EU financial assistance for Somalia. A country that, “for geo-strategic reasons, is a priority”.

Similarly, underscored Terzi, “the international community has a responsibility to provide adequate financial support” for the AMISOM peace mission in Somalia, including by increasing the numbers deployed (currently 12 thousand) by 25/30%.