PM Hailemariam at London Somalia Conference
PM Hailemariam and the First Lady arrived in London on 9th May to attend the Somalia Conference to accelerate progress on security sector reform, build on the international response to the ongoing drought and humanitarian crisis, and agree the new international partnership needed to keep Somalia on course for increased peace and prosperity by 2020.
Held under the theme, Future for Somalia, the London Somalia Conference brought together leaders from around the world.
Opening the conference, Prime Minister Theresa May spoke of the importance of building a secure, stable and prosperous future for all the people of Somalia. As an international community, our commitment to Somalia matters, she said, adding that challenges that affect Somalia, such as the threat of terrorism, affect us all.
Prime Minister May highlighted the progress that has been made over the past five years. Progress that has required hard work and great sacrifice, not only from the Troop Contributing Countries to the AMISOM mission – from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Burundi and Djibouti – but also from Somalis themselves, and from a broad coalition of other partners. Because of these efforts, she said, al Shabaab has been pushed back, piracy largely contained, and new momentum brought to the political process.
In his remarks, the Somalian President, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmaajo’, underscored the peaceful transfer of power following his recent election, which was a reminder of Somalia’s potential as a beacon of democracy and hope in one of the most unstable regions in the world.
The President affirmed his vision to fight Somalia’s three major enemies – terrorism, corruption and poverty – with security remaining paramount for his administration. Together with the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), he said, I am confident that we can defeat al-Shabaab in the next few years. The President called on the international community to lift an arms embargo on his country as government soldiers battle to regain territory from the armed group al-Shabaab.
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, stressed the need for looking into a predictable way to fund AMISOM troops, who are fighting to protect global security without enough support. He also renewed calls to for extra funds to help Somalia tackle the current drought.
Prime Minister Hailemariam highlighted issues vitally important to ensuring lasting peace and sustainable development in Somalia. He urged the international community to extend more support to Somalia in the fight against terrorism. The fight against al-Shabaab has been progressing and they are on the retreat, but are yet to be eliminated and remain dangerous with the capacity to launch terrorist attacks both in Somalia and outside. Developing a well-functioning Somali National Army can effectively deal with al-Shabaab and progressively take over from AMISOM in the coming few years.
PM Hailemariam also stressed the need to address the current drought and migration situation affecting the entire IGAD region, with serious political and security implications. The number of refugees from conflict and drought-affected countries in the region crossing into neighbouring countries will continue to rise unless an intensified response mechanism is put in place, he said.
On the margins of the conference, PM Hailemariam met with the UN Secretary-General and discussed the current situation in South Sudan, the progress in Somalia, and ways in which to curb the humanitarian crises caused by drought and civil war.
With Prime Minister Theresa May, PM Hailemariam discussed bilateral, regional and global matters of common interest.
He welcomed the support the UK has provided to Ethiopia’s development which, he said, had helped lift millions out of poverty.
PM May highlighted the compact agreement – creating jobs for refugees [in Ethiopia]- as an example of Ethio-UK constructive partnership.
A conference communique gave an overview of Somalia’s humanitarian, security, and constitutional issues that were discussed, including the agreement of a Security Pact, adopted by Somalia and the international community, which will allow for sustainable, long-term security based on mutual accountability. The conference also ensured the adoption of a New Partnership for Somalia by the delegations, to re-commit them to working together and holding each other to account to deliver the vital support and reforms that Somalia needs over the next four years.
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