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SOMALIA: Italy at the Istanbul Conference to help the stability process

“Preparing Somalia’s Future: Goals for 2015”: these are the themes of the international conference opening in Istanbul on Friday 1 June, which Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi will be attending. The political representatives of 54 countries will be meeting in the Turkish city to map out the conditions for Somalia to move forward this summer from the fragile transition process to possible stabilisation. The Second Istanbul Conference on Somalia (the first was in 2010) will be co-chaired by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Over the last two years Turkey has taken on a leading role in seeking a solution to the crisis in Somalia, a country that, like Turkey, has a Sunni Muslim majority.

The Conference in Istanbul will be preceded by a technical session opened by the Turkish Deputy Premier, Bekit Bozdag. Those expected to attend the political talks at the conference include Somalia’s transition president and premier, Sheik Sharif Ahmed and Abdiwell Mughammed Ali; the head of British diplomacy, William Hague; the Secretary of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu; and the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Jean Ping.

Italy’s position

Italy’s position, as expressed by Minister Terzi, is clear. The stabilisation of Somalia will only be achieved by completing the transition stage with new institutions; involving moderate Muslims in the peace process; and greater transparency in managing aid. Parliamentary reform and the adoption of a new Constitution are preconditions for the current transition stage to be completed, as envisaged by the road map agreed at the Garowe Conference in December 2011, by 20 August of this year.

Italy is also ready to take part in the joint financial management board, a new mechanism to ensure greater transparency in managing revenue and international aid. The Foreign Ministry is funding institution-building initiatives and the UN has a project to train judges from the transitional federal government and the other branches of government in Somalia. Italian Development Cooperation donor initiatives over the last ten years amount to 118 million euros.

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