(fa fede solo il testo effettivamente pronunciato)
Excellency Sharif Hassan, Speaker of the Parliament of Somalia,
Excellency Mohamed Abdiweli, Prime Minister of Somalia,
Amb. Augustine Mahiga, Head of the UN Office for Somalia,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank you all for your presence here today. It is a privilege for Italy to host this meeting at such a crucial juncture for Somalia, a country very close to our minds and hearts.
This Contact Group comes at the end of an intense diplomatic process, which reached peaks of high international visibility with the London and the Istanbul Conferences. All Somali stakeholders, the international community, the UN Office for Somalia, the Somali diaspora and civil society’s associations have been making an impressive effort to find viable solutions to entangled problems. I would like to mention the sense of hope and commitment the Somali diaspora in Italy has been conveying to me, reflecting the unchanged love for their country.
Our goal is the full and timely implementation of the roadmap to provide Somali people with new legitimate institutions. We are striving to keep the momentum on Somalia, whose people deserves a peaceful and sustainable future. Too much pain has been suffered, too much blood has been shed. It is time to unite, put aside personal interests and give priority to the collective interest of the country. The Somali society should be based on the respect and protection of universally recognised human rights: right to liberty and security, freedom of expression and belief, empowerment of women, protection of children and of the inherent dignity of every individual. Protection of all minorities, especially religious minorities, is of utmost importance.
Yesterday, 1st of July, Somalia celebrated its national day. May that commemoration of independence be a powerful call for responsibility, unity and positive determination.
Nowadays, there is no shelter from transnational threats. Therefore, solid partnerships with other regions are a key priority. Think of piracy off the coasts of Somalia. It has severe effects all over the world, in terms of hostages taken and dwindling maritime security. Only a strong coordination among all the countries involved, in full compliance with the international law, can bring reasonable results. The need to respect relevant international law in fighting piracy in international waters, has been reiterated most recently in the final Declaration of the Second Dubai Counter-Piracy Conference, attended by Secretary of State De Mistura on behalf of the Italian Government.
A few days ago an Italian citizen and his South African wife were liberated. This result would not have been possible without the effective commitment of Somali authorities, which in this way have confirmed the positive trend in their control of the territory. I take this opportunity to warmly thank them and commend this fine example of collaboration, that we intend to foster in the future, since only an enhanced capacity building assistance to Somali Authority will help them granting law and order in the country. To this purpose, Italy, together with the African Union, plans to start a course by the Italian Carabinieri aimed at training a Unit of “robust Somali police” with a wide mandate, ranging from counter-terrorism activities to anti-piracy action on land. Pirates can be defeated only by an effective control of the territory.
Italy will pursue its longstanding commitment to Somalia and its loyal support to the ongoing political process. A draft Constitution was approved by all of the Somali stakeholders, in Nairobi, on 22nd of June. We do hope that a shared framework of principles respectful of human rights - including freedom of religion and protection of women, children and minorities - will be ultimately adopted by the Constituent Assembly. Somali authorities will then have a crucial step ahead before the end of the transition on August 20th: the selection of new Parliament.
Security is a crucial priority. AMISOM mission has been receiving Italy’s convinced support. Italy has contributed through the EU and the UN channel. At the bilateral level, we have just earmarked one additional million to the 17 million Euros provided since 2007. Some commendable results have been achieved and we congratulate the African Union and the Chief Commander of AMISOM. The deployment of Djiboutian troops has turned the mission into a truly African initiative, including both Muslim and non Muslim States. We should urge new donors to give their support to this endeavour. Somalia’s stability is in the interest of all of us.
The responsibility of providing the country with sustainable security has to be increasingly entrusted to the Somali security forces, giving the principle of ownership concrete basis. They need our assistance. In Istanbul I supported the Turkish idea for a Fund to collect resources and I hope we will have more elements on this in order to evaluate this proposal. Italy has been making an important effort and - together with the US - has financially supported more than ten thousand servicemen. We have just allocated further 2.6 million Euros. Nevertheless, other partners should join in and share this burden. I hope these two-day discussion will widen the consensus on all this.
Military operations, however successful, are just a part of the job. Only an inclusive reconciliation makes a peace settlement complete and durable. Some segments of the Somali society have not joined the political process so far, but may be ready to renounce violence.
People living in liberated areas must be convinced that freedom from terrorism and fear goes hand in hand with reconstruction, development and a real involvement in the political life of local community. Italy has provided concrete help to select transparent and accountable local authorities in Somalia. It is our hope that our programmes will inspire future initiatives supported by the UN.
Dear Ambassador Mahiga,
Italy appreciates the work you and your staff are doing. UNPOS presence in Mogadishu is a tangible sign of the international community's will to be active on the ground. In the future, Somali people will still need you, even more than now. Thus, Italy favours an enhanced role of the UN in Somalia after August 20th, in order to adapt it to the reconstruction phase and increasing its effectiveness.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Building upon the conclusions of the London and Istanbul Conferences, I wish this meeting could pass a self-reform of the ICG. A new Somalia will need renewed mechanisms of international coordination in order to shift from crises management to a broader range of activities.
In fact, new key issues are at the Somali forefront: democracy, human rights, economic development and reconstruction, social services, effective control over the territory.
Somali economy is already reviving, but infrastructure recovery is necessary to boost growth. Italy is already financing some programmes in this field and we hope the international community will coordinate further efforts in this fields.
Italy is convinced that Somali cultural heritage will be a cornerstone of the national re-birth and a powerful cement of a common identity. We will accompany this process: as a tribute to the Somali people, tomorrow we are presenting in this Conference Hall the new Somali dictionary, edited by the University “Roma Tre”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is the new agenda that Italy, the EU and the international community are ready to work on after August 20th. We have two months ahead to make a longstanding ambition to come true. Let us work hard and meet the challenge.