A UN-backed national conference opened in the Somali capital
Sunday, with keynote speeches delivered by TFG President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed
and Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole, Radio Garowe reports.
President Farole arrived in Mogadishu on Sunday, a day after a 25-member
delegation of Puntland, including Cabinet ministers and parliamentarians. The
UN-backed Somalia National Consultative Conference, scheduled for 4 – 6
September 2011, aims to gather Somali stakeholders and to adopt the Roadmap
document which details benchmarks for the TFG under one-year terms of the
Kampala Accord of 9 June 2011.
The four discussion groups at the conference include:
security, reconciliation, constitution and parliament reforms, and good
governance, according to conference documents.
The conference consists of 100 delegates representing the
TFG executive and parliamentary branches, Puntland state government, and local
administrations of Galmudug and Ahlu Sunna militia.
UN’s Special Envoy to Somalia, Amb. Augustine Mahiga, announced at today's conference in Mogadishu that the next conference series on Somali
constitutional process shall take place in Garowe, capital of Puntland.
TFG Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gas gave a brief speech before introducing the TFG President, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
Sharif: Parliament reform needed
|TFG leader Sharif addresses Somali conference in Mogadishu|
TFG President Sharif said the conference “aims to discuss
Somali affairs, and to assess past and present directions.”
He particularly thanked President Farole and the Puntland
delegation for attending this important conference, which President Sharif urged
the delegates to conclude with a positive outcome for Somalia.
TFG President Sharif told the conference delegates that Somalia has
suffered over 20 years of destruction and needs re-construction with
“The recurrent droughts in Somalia need long-term solutions. 20
years of war has destroyed our national economy and there is great need for
reconstruction,” said President Sharif.
The TFG leader spoke about the collapse of security and social
services, particularly education and healthcare, due to the decades of war in Mogadishu and elsewhere.
“When security is destroyed, livelihoods and public services are also
destroyed,” he noted.
President Sharif admitted that the Somali parliament (TFP) needs to
be reformed from its current bloated 550 seats: “The time has come to downsize
and reform the 550-seat Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP),” said President
He noted that Somalia
is “undergoing historic times” while thanking AMISOM troop-contributing
countries and the wider international community aiding Somalia.
Farole: ‘Mogadishu was
destroyed by Somalis’
|Puntland leader Farole addresses Somali conference in Mogadishu|
Puntland’s president Abdirahman Farole said the conference
is important as it is the first national conference held inside Somalia in 20
President Farole’s 17-minute speech delved in many topics
including security, forgiveness and reconciliation, self-development, mutual
trust and cooperation among Somali communities.
Farole spoke indirectly about the 1991 genocide, when Hawiye
clan militias massacred Darod clan civilians and expelled Darod clans from Mogadishu immediately
following the overthrow of the 21-year dictatorship of Gen. Barre.
“This is my third return to Mogadishu in 20 years. In 1991, in 2001, and
today…these trips are 10 years apart. We are not holding anyone to account, but
we all know horrendous crimes were committed. We [Puntland] came to Mogadishu today, if Somalis cannot produce
successful outcome for this conference, then remember each man is free to make
independent decisions,” President Farole warned.
Continuing he said: “We [Puntland] did not come to Mogadishu for games. You
know where we came from. The President [Sharif] and the Prime Minister [Gas] visited us. We came from a land of development. The ugliness witnessed
today in Mogadishu
is not witnessed in Puntland. We left Mogadishu
in 1991 as it was proud and beautiful, and it was said to be Africa most
peaceful city, but today we travel in fear…Mogadishu was destroyed by Somalis.”
He spoke about the urgent need for “viable national
institutions that deliver security and social services” and stressed the need to reform the 550-seat Somali parliament in Mogadishu, adding: “Without the
will and commit of we Somalis, our neighboring countries and the wider
supportive international community cannot restore our dignity and our
Farole was thankful to the international community's support to Somalia, with particular thanks to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan, "whose visit to Mogadishu sent a strong message to the entire world."
The Puntland leader highlighted his expectations for the
conference outcome, including consensus on security issues, reinforcing federalism,
completion of state formations, advancing national reconciliation and
cooperation among Somali stakeholders.
Furthermore, President Farole pointed out that major
obstacles to security and development in Somalia include conflict and poverty, tribalism and
ignorance, extremism and piracy, protracted civil war, and “war profiteers” which
the Puntland leader condemned.
Farole repeatedly urged Somalis to “forgive each other” and
to “restore trust among our communities.” The president’s national speech cited
examples of African countries who recovered from war, including Rwanda and Liberia.
President Farole appealed to the delegates to conclude “this
historic conference with success for all Somalis."
The conference in Mogadishu is scheduled to be concluded on Tuesday, with attendees from foreign governments and the international community.
African Union peacekeepers (AMISOM), and TFG security forces, are jointly guarding the conference delegates.