H. E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Current IGAD Chairperson of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of IGAD.
H.E. Ismail Omar Gelle, President of the Republic of Djibouti
H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya
H.E. Yawori Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda
H. E. Amb (Eng.) Mahboub Maalim, IGAD Executive Secretary
H.E. Erests Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission
Excellencies and Distinguished participants;
Ladies and Gentleman;
It is an honor to be here with you today. Let me take this opportunity to thank the People and the Government of Ethiopia for hosting this important 22nd Extra-Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of IGAD and the 50th Anniversary of the African Union. I also thank Ethiopia for the warm welcome accorded to me and my delegation here in Addis Ababa. I also want to thank IGAD Executive Secretary and the Secretariat for organizing this timely and important Summit. Having this meeting twice within the month of May shows our collective commitments and dedication on Somalia.
Happy Birthday to all on our special occasion that we are celebrating our 50th Anniversary of the African Union and most importantly, it is time to look forward over the next 50 years and set a course to develop the Africa that our people so richly deserve. Combined under our leadership, we have the potential to make the 21st century, Africa’s century.
Somalia has been at the heart of the African Union since its inauguration. As one of the founding fathers, we are proud to stand here today emerging from decades of trauma, supported by you all. This is the spirit of the African Union today. A community of nations who stand side by side and find our own solutions to our problems.
On behalf of the Federal Government and the people of Somalia, Let me begin to express my gratitude and appreciation to IGAD member States for their relentless efforts, dedication and sacrifices to assist Somalia in bringing peace and stability.
In Particular your attendance, solidarity, support and standing shoulder to shoulder with me during the recent Somalia Conference in London, is hugely welcome and I cannot thank you enough for that. I hope that you will also come to Japan to attend the special meeting on Somalia on 31st May 2013 that the Prime Minister of Japan and I will co-chair.
Since our last meeting there have been developments in Somalia such as the London Conference on 7th May, our continual discussions on issues that matter to all of us, the IGAD Confidence Building Mission to Mogadishu and Kismayo and today’s meeting of IGAD Council of Ministers.
I have no doubt that our collective desire to achieve our common goals will prevail. Your commitment and sustained company in support of our agendas, policies and priorities is more critical now than ever with an aim to see an end of the events in Somalia.
Once again I thank AMISOM contributing countries and Ethiopia for truly sending their soldiers to Somalia. Without your sacrifices, we would not have defeated Al-Shabaab. The threat posed by Al-Shabaab, which is Al-Qaeda affiliate in the horn of Africa is a local, regional and global, which needs regional and global solution. A true mission that we started together must be accomplished by all of us.
My government whole heartedly supported the recent IGAD communiqué on 3 May and its five agreed principles, which clearly spells out how IGAD leaders are committed to supporting the Federal Government of Somalia’s National Stabilization Plan. We value greatly the role of IGAD in order for us to lead the stabilization of the country and to bring peace and stability.
As I said before My Government is aggressively engaged in outreach programmes, and to further our previous political outreach we have recently sent a committee from the cabinet and the parliament to Kismayo on 15 May 2013 to initiate dialogue with the local stakeholders. However, AMISOM contingent in the area did not treat the committee well.
In our last meeting I mentioned the need to transform the culture of impunity, the culture of lawlessness and the culture of adapting 22 years without functioning state authority. For this end, I regret to inform you that Kismayo process unilaterally made declarations which created dispute of the outcome, insecurity in Kismayo and demonstrations against the outcome of the conference. This unilateral decision is what we have been warning for sometime as our people cannot afford another conflict.
We wish that they would have listened to us as what we have been offering was a cohesive, inclusive, reconciliation based process to lay down the foundation of locally owned administrations. This process in Kismayo is done against the spirit of the constitution, without the government leadership, lacks inclusivity. This type of outcome may help Al-Shabaab to take advantage of the grievances of some of the stakeholders.
My government is ready and committed to hold a genuine reconciliation conference to key stakeholders in the Jubba regions in order to devise program and plans to establish interim administrations that can lead to the formation of Federal Unit States in accordance with the provisional constitution.
The Federal Government of Somalia is mandated to represent the interest of all Somali people those who are silent and powerless as they look for the Federal Government to safeguard their constitutional rights.
The culture that formed for the last 2 decades in Somalia due to lack of functioning state is for everyone and every group to claim the rightful representation of the Somali people. The International Community also adopted a culture to be neutral to all groups.
We can understand when it comes to humanitarian situations; however, we need to look the situation through different lenses when it comes to politics.
Nevertheless, the International Community put energy, commitment and time to overcome this culture by hosting conferences to get legitimate authority that can speak for the people of Somalia. We are ever grateful for this commitment which in the end resulted the ending of the transition to a legitimate and permanent government in Somalia.
All these commitments and energy that the international community and in particular the IGAD member states put to Somalia resulted representative and all inclusive federal institutions from all walks of life and regions in Somalia.
I therefore, would like to strongly emphasize the importance of this as some of the International Community is still giving wrong signals to some groups or regions in Somalia. This will only create more problems to the prolonged political fragmentation that we are trying so hard to solve.
My government is committed to implementing our mandated priorities which include the development of the constitution and the implementation of the Federal system in Somalia.
There is no silver bullet and there are no quick fix solutions in Somalia, as the issues we are dealing with are complex and sensitive which require holistic approaches to overcome. We have to be pragmatic and realize that we cannot solve all the ills of the society in one day.
Rome wasn’t built a day. State and Nation building in Somalia are very delicate which require time, space, understanding and consensus that our people is desperately in need.
So what is the solution to the setting up of Regional Administrations in Somalia?
The Federal Government sent a committee to Kismayo to start dialogue and reconciliation based on a roadmap that outlines the way forward until a federal unit is established in these regions.
Although Kismayo process produced unilateral decision that undermines the spirit of the provisional constitution, the legitimacy of the Federal Government, inclusivity of local stakeholders and the guidance of the 5 principles of IGAD as per the IGAD communiqué on 3rd May 2013, the Federal Government of Somalia is persistently remain open for dialogue and leadership of a broad-based process that is transparent and inclusive of all local stakeholders.
In conclusion, Excellencies,
I would like to thank IGAD Secretariat for their quick response to deploy the IGAD trust building mission to Mogadishu and Kismayo. We welcome the recommendations of the mission.
Finally, I would like to thank H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia for hosting this wonderful summit, as well as to IGAD Secretariat for organizing this summit and I hope that it will not be a long time before we hold these meetings in Mogadishu in the near future
Somali news leader