Mogadishu (AGGM): His Excellency Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon today outlined recent progress on security and human rights and laid out his government’s hopes for a successful Somalia Conference in London as he welcomed the British Foreign Secretary William Hague to Mogadishu on his second visit to the Somali capital.
The Prime Minister congratulated the Foreign Secretary on opening the British Embassy in Somalia, a strong sign of the improving situation that other countries would note and follow. The government had just appointed Somalia’s first Ambassador to the UK in many years and Somalia-UK relations were excellent.
“Most of your counterparts around the world have not yet visited Somalia, so I am particularly delighted to see you here again on your second visit, the Prime Minister said.”
The government also welcomed the UK championing the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative as part of its G8 Presidency.
“My government has been extremely clear on this issue. Sexual violence is against Somali culture, against our religion, and is completely unacceptable,” the Prime Minister said. “This is one of the reasons we launched the Independent Task Force on Human Rights and we have taken other action in this area. I appreciate the UK working with us on this and also taking note of the progress we have made on this critical issue.”
Updating the Foreign Secretary on recent progress ahead of the Somalia Conference in London on 7 May, the Prime Minister said:
“Security remains our greatest priority and our greatest success. I have instructed my ministers to share with the Somalia Conference our progress on building our armed forces and police, reforming public financial management systems and the justice sector, rebalancing the relationship between the centre and regions and promoting national dialogue and reconciliation. The world will see that Somalia has turned a corner.”
The Prime Minister said he was now looking forward to hearing how the international community would be supporting the Somali governent’s plans.
“As we rejoin the community of nations, one of the last barriers to full membership is the issue of our arrears clearance. I am hopeful that with the UK as our key partner in London we can make real progress here. Now that we are recognised by the IMF, we are at last poised to end our economic isolation – just as we have ended our political isolation. Finding a solution to our arrears position would be one of the greatest achievements of the Somalia Conference.”
Prime Minister’s Media Office