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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora