An international conference to be held in Britain on May 11 is crucial for accelerating reforms in Somalia, the UN envoy said Saturday.
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia Michael Keating said the London Conference on Somalia will be a unique opportunity to secure high-level international support for Somalia at a critical stage in its ongoing security, political and economic transition.
"The London Conference is a major opportunity to strengthen the partnership between the international community and Somalia, and set out shared priorities for the coming years to help give the Somali people the future they deserve," Keating said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
His statement came after the Somali government met international partners at a high-level meeting in Mogadishu on Saturday to prepare for the conference.
The meeting presented senior officials with an opportunity to share their policy priorities and discuss the basis for a high-level partnership agreement to be signed in London between Somalia and its international partners.
According to Keating, this agreement will cover a range of issues, including a security pact, support for drought response and economic recovery, and political priorities including the constitutional review process and a democratization process leading to one-person, one-vote elections in 2020.
Participants praised the recent political agreement that was reached by the country's top federal and state government leaders on a new architecture for Somalia's national security forces.
"This agreement will provide the basis for the gradual transfer of lead responsibility for the country's security to Somali security forces in the coming years," he said.
Keating said the challenges facing the people of Somalia are formidable including effective response to the drought, creating jobs and building a more resilient economy, improving security and containing violence.
He said a process to resolve constitutional issues to ensure greater stability and a strong federal state is among other challenges facing the Horn of African nation.
"The key to success is reconciliation among Somalis, as well as coherent and sustained support from the international community around Somali priorities," Keating said.