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EU Praises Somali Government Progress

Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud addresses a news conference at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa on May 26, 2013.
Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud addresses a news conference at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa on May 26, 2013.
This week Somali government led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud marks its first year in office.  The European Union is now calling on officials in Mogadishu to reach out to leaders in southern and central Somalia to help them solve their political differences.  The diplomats say the political dialogue between the Somali people is important for the success of the government.  

This latest call from diplomats comes as the European Union and Somali government prepare to co-host a high-level conference in Brussels Monday, dubbed as “a new deal for Somalia."  The conference will be about ways to sustain the gains made by the government and support the reconstruction of the country after two decades of civil war.

The Somali government is facing challenges from local administrations across the country, as the government and allied militias take more ground from the al-Qaida-linked group al-Shabab.
 
After months of political wrangling between the government and administrators in Juba province over control of the port city of Kismayo, the two sides reached an agreement last month in Addis Ababa.  The agreement was welcomed by the international community.

In an interview with VOA, the European Union special representative to Horn of Africa, Alex Randos, said the government and political entities should use the Kismayo example as a model.

“I think it’s absolutely essential... that the process now continue [and] be accelerated, by which the federal government of Mogadishu can sit and help the parties and work with the parties in different parts of Somalia, especially south, and central to come to similar arrangements and accommodations," said Randos.

The international community has praised Somali authorities of bringing relative stability in the country despite continued hit-and-run attacks by rebel group al-Shabab.  

Randos notes the country is being governed much more peacefully, with much of less of the political bickering among top leaders that brought down previous governments.

“You have a president and a prime minister - the prime minister is not being changed - there’s been continuity that’s very important.  Secondly, you’ve had a parliament which got its work and again we’ve not had major confrontation which we have seen in the past.  I think these are huge plus signs and it has to do with the fact, I think, the president has tried to find a way to create an atmosphere congenial... I mean there is give and take," he said.

The EU says the conference planned in Brussels will help Somalia's government and its people to move the country forward on the political, security and economic fronts before the elections scheduled for 2016, when the current government term comes to an end.

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