News / Africa

African Leaders See Historic Opportunities for Somalia

Hailemariam Desalegn attends the inauguration ceremony of Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Mogadishu September 16, 2012. Hailemariam Desalegn attends the inauguration ceremony of Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Mogadishu September 16, 2012.
x
Hailemariam Desalegn attends the inauguration ceremony of Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Mogadishu September 16, 2012.
Hailemariam Desalegn attends the inauguration ceremony of Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Mogadishu September 16, 2012.
African leaders say the election of a new Somali president holds historic opportunities for peace and stability that the international community must not let pass.  

South African President Jacob Zuma says the international community must back the people of Somalia as they embrace the new freedoms of a new government after decades of conflic

"Sustainable peace is possible in Somalia.  The adoption of the provisional constitution has set in place the foundation for building the pillars on which peace will thrive," said Zuma.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud won election as Somali president earlier this month, ending a long transition process made possible largely because African troops expelled al-Shabab militants from the capital, Mogadishu.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn says the new Somali government needs a lot of help from the international community, but help that does not infringe on Somali ownership of its own recovery.

"We have no doubt that the new leadership will continue to deepen national reconciliation and focus on building and strengthening the necessary governance institutions to ensure the provision of basic services and promote economic recovery.  There is real momentum for durable peace in Somalia, and the chances for making the process irreversible have never been as excellent as they currently are," said Desalegn.

European Union Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton says the election of a new Somali president is a decisive turning point.  But she says the work of transformation is just beginning.

"We have to review quickly and carefully how the international community is organized so we can react and coordinate our support.  This country deserves a united, efficient and transparent organization of our international assistance," said Ashton.

In the next four weeks, Ashton says there should be immediate support for the new government.  In the next four months, she says there should be a "New Deal for Somalia" that forms the basis for development through new elections.

"And then finally, the four years' time: the strategic phase in which we consolidate security, build Somali capacity, reintegrate Somalia into the international financial institutions, and help to prepare for those elections," she said.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti says the new Somali government understands well the breadth of the challenges before it.

"We expect that due attention will be given to developing the institutional and legal framework of democracy, rule of law and human rights - including freedom of religion.  Once the new constitution will be fully implemented, civil coexistence will be truly effective in Somalia," said Monti.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the international community will continue to back an African Union intervention force as it advances on al-Shabab positions in the port of Kismayo, alongside fighters allied to the new Somali government.

"We will work closely with the new government as it takes more of a leading role.  We will maintain our support for the security sector and focus on sustainable and comprehensive reform.  As more areas are liberated from al-Shabab, the government will need to establish police forces and courts," said Clinton.

With more than 2 million Somalis still in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance and many more facing hunger and malnutrition, Clinton says donors must not forget those Somalis who have fled the country.

"Kenya has been extremely generous in sponsoring hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees and we have to continue to work over time to relocate those refugees back in their homes," she said.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki wants U.N. agencies and international donors to move Somali refugees from camps in Kenya to areas of Somalia no longer under al-Shabab control.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid