Conference on Somalia kicks off in Istanbul

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon told an international conference on Somalia on Saturday that if the global community does not redouble its efforts there will be little chance for peace in the country.

The conference that opened in Istanbul will address security issues including piracy, and provide a platform for Somalia’s private sector, international business, and governments to launch new initiatives for reconstruction and job creation.

“If we do not redouble our efforts, there will be little chance for peace in Somalia,” Ban said, a week after he called for stepped-up global action to combat the “alarming” increase in pirate attacks, which topped 400 last year.

The conference follows political turmoil in Somalia, where President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed fired Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke earlier this week before reversing his decision on Thursday. He explained that the state of the country
required unity among its leaders.

Ban said the Transitional Federal Government represented Somalia’s best chance in years to escape from the endless cycle of war and humanitarian disaster.

“The only way to restore stability is to support this government both in its reconciliation efforts and, where necessary, its fight against extremism,” Ban said. “Helping Somalia to recover is clearly a significant challenge.
But it is not insurmountable. And we must succeed.”

The Somali president assured that his country’s leaders were able to iron out differences also promised transparency in the face of widespread allegations of corruption.

“We promise to be transparent,” he said. “We’re committed to transparency and all the assistance given to us are guaranteed by us.” - Sapa-AP

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