Statement by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Foreign Minister of Turkey, at the Mini Summit on Somalia

Ahmet Davutoğlu 23.09.2010
Mr. Chairman,

I would like to thank the Secretary General H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon for his timely initiative, which constitutes yet another demonstration of his strong commitment to peace and stability in Africa, particularly in Somalia. We also thank President Sheik Sharif and Mr. Ping for their insightful statements.

In my speech, I would like to highlight four points.
First: Security.

We are concerned with increased insecurity and precarious humanitarian situation in Somalia. Furthermore, the attacks perpetrated in Kampala/Uganda were stark reminders of the negative implications of the situation in Somalia for the wider region.

We commend the crucial role played by AMISOM. We thank all troop and police contributing countries, especially Uganda and Burundi. We also welcome IGAD’s and African Union’s efforts. AMISOM should be fully supported so that it can effectively implement its mandate. Predictable and regular funding has to be ensured to provide maximum support for AMISOM deployment and operations.

In this respect, in addition to the half a million dollars which we have already allocated, I would like to officially announce that we released yesterday the remaining half a million US Dollars to the fund for AMISOM.

On the other hand, AMISOM can not be expected to undertake the full responsibility to provide security. Therefore, the strengthening of the Somali security institutions is of crucial importance. To this end, we signed a cooperation agreement with Somalia on the training of the Somalia police on the sidelines of the Istanbul Conference. Currently work is underway to put this agreement into practice.

The second point: the political situation.

Somalia needs a strong and capable Government. The effective functioning of the Transitional Federal Government is essential for achieving lasting peace, stability and prosperity in Somalia. As it stands, we are concerned with the incoherence between the Cabinet and the Parliament, and hope that the existing political differences be solved through dialogue. Needless to say, the assistance of the international community can only yield positive results and be sustainable if the Somali people own up their problems and constructively work toward overcoming their internal differences. Strengthening the capacity of TFG security forces, completing the transitional agenda by August 2011 including the constitution-making process, agreement on post-transition arrangements are major issues that need to be addressed.

There is no military solution to the Somali question and the only road to a peaceful future is through dialogue. The TFG which Turkey fully supports should continue to pursue its outreach policy vis-à-vis all opposition groups.

The third point : UN’s role and regional ownership.

UN’s active involvement and leadership is crucial for the Djibouti peace process to move forward in Somalia. In this regard, we welcome the sustained commitment of the Secretary General and his Special Representative Mr. Augustine Mahiga. UN’s increasing profile in Somalia and the revitalization of the High-Level Committee and the Joint Security Committee will help achieve the set targets.

On the other hand, Somalia’s neighbours play an indispensible role in promoting peace, security and development in Somalia. As I had emphasized in Istanbul during the Somalia Conference, all the countries in the region will benefit from peace and stability in Somalia, and regional ownership is a prerequisite to attain this goal. As a strategic partner of the African Union, Turkey is ready to contribute to peace and stability in the region.

The fourth point: Economic recovery.

Stability in Somalia can only be consolidated if the gains in the political and security fields are supported by reconstruction activities. In this connection, the Istanbul Conference laid down a broad perspective in that regard by identifying six initial priority areas. Moreover, pursuant to the Istanbul Conference, a Task Force was formed under the Co-chairmanship of Turkey and the Islamic Development Bank, to devise a mechanism to bring together development partners and agencies to address Somalia’s urgent needs.

As we have underlined in the Istanbul Declaration, a renewed emphasis on economic recovery and development in Somalia is necessary. We have to work on concrete action plans which would include identifying pilot projects and creating economic zones. We also welcome the intention of SRSG Mahiga to convene a follow-up meeting to the Istanbul Conference.

Mr. Chairman,

Before concluding, I would also like to briefly touch upon piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden which continue to be a grave concern for all of us. Turkey will actively support the work of the “Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia” and continue to contribute to the multi-national counter-piracy operations in the region. Indeed, on September 1st 2010, the Turkish Navy assumed the command of Combined Task Force-151 for the second time.

Mr. Chairman,

The strategy put forward by the Secretary General in 2008 is still very accurate and relevant. We commend the commitment of the Secretary General towards its implementation. We are also grateful to him for convening today’s timely Meeting. I believe that today’s discussion will provide us with valuable inputs for our joint endeavours to bring peace, stability and prosperity to Somalia.

Thank you.