Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has said that the State of Qatar will continue to be a key supporter of Somalia and will spare no effort in providing the necessary assistance for development plans and programmes of government of Somalia in partnership with the United Nations and the World Bank.
"The State of Qatar has recently provided a $25m aid to the Somali government as contribution to the debt reduction of Somalia at the World Bank and that it supports the development of security capabilities, economic empowerment programmes, creation of job for young people, the Trust Fund for Peace and Reconciliation and the implementation of development projects," H E the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said.
H E the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs said this in his opening speech while chairing the Ministerial Meeting of the OIC Contact Group on Somalia which was held yesterday for mobilising more international support to establish security and promote development in Somalia.
The meeting was attended by a number of foreign ministers and other top officials of the OIC countries including the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Ahmed Isse Awad, among others.
H E the Deputy Prime Minister said that the meeting was being held in the context of the keen attention that Qatar attached to Somalia as part of its role as Chair of the OIC Contact Group and to provide various forms of support to Somalia.
H E the Deputy Prime Minister also extended thanks to the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for preparing a report on the situation in Somalia, which was presented to the meeting.
H E the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs urged continued efforts to complete the pillars of democracy in Somalia to realize the 2016 vision and holding the general elections scheduled for 2020-2021 and establishing and consolidating the principles of transparency, social justice and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
"There are many serious challenges still facing Somalia, and we should provide all aspects of support for facing these challenges. Perhaps, the most prominent of these challenges is terrorism and violent extremism. Despite the gradual progress in facing the control of the militant groups, terrorist attacks still continue," he said.
In this context, His Excellency reiterated Qatar's condemnation of these criminal attacks, which aimed to undermine stability and national unity, stressing the importance of intensifying efforts to eradicate them and implement the national strategy and action plan to prevent and combat violent extremism.
He said that the meeting reflected the consensus of the OIC Member States on the importance of securing the future of Somalia. He also stressed the importance of working to create jobs and employment for young people, who are the largest demographic sector in Somalia, not only by stimulating economic growth but also by contributing to countering violent extremism.
He also praised Kuwait's hosting of the donors' conference to support the education sector next year, and commended the Republic of Turkey's proposal of sending a fact-finding mission to drought-affected countries, including the Republic of Somalia, to assess needs.
In his speech, H E the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs also talked about Qatar's support for Somalia's Hobyo port development. "Based on the principle of integration between security and development and the importance of protecting achievements, joint investment between the Qatari and Somali governments has been announced for the port of Hobyo, as well as support for the modernization of the military and security sector of Somalia in coordination with the United Nations, especially UNAMSIL, considering the importance of aligning with the efforts led by the African Union through the African peacekeeping mission in Somalia".
For his part, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Ahmed Isse Awad hailed Qatar's hosting of this meeting and its efforts to support the Somali people. He said that the process of building the Somali state is witnessing a tangible development where political stability, security improvement and economic achievements have been realized. On the security situation in Somalia, the Minister said that the security sector is a priority for the Somali government, terrorism, represented in ISIS and Al Shabab in the forefront of the challenges facing the Republic of Somalia, and to face this and achieve stability on all the territory of Somalia, the government gave priority to restructuring and modernization of the security sector, which enabled the retaking of large areas and important cities of terrorists.
The Minister added that his country viewed Somalia Support Fund as an important opportunity and a practical translation of the values and principles of the OIC. He also called on OIC to follow the example of the World Bank and the African Bank to move the economy in Somalia forward.
Ahmed Isse Awad also praised Kuwait's efforts in support of Somalia, particularly in the field of education and called for supporting the success of the upcoming general conference in Kuwait to support education in Somalia.
OIC Undersecretary for Political Affairs Yousef Al Dobeay praised the efforts of the State of Qatar and its initiative to call for a meeting of the Organization's Contact Group on Somalia with the aim of mobilizing more coordinated international support to build the structure and institutions of Somalia and establish security and stability on its territory. Al Dobeay affirmed the organization's commitment to supporting Somalia, reviewing its efforts and activities in it, which is one of the founding members of the organization and has played a prominent role in its efforts over the past 50 years and praised the organization's efforts in Somalia.