United Somalia a must: Davutoğlu

20120601-031818.jpgIn the international arena, there are some problems that you can solve on your own or with a minimal number of partners. There are some others that you cannot easily find a solution for, because they have already become so stiffened by being there for a long time. More importantly they have become the problems of our consciences. The plight of Somalia, which is among the least developed countries, represents a disgrace for the international community in the 21st century.

The long-standing tragedy in Somalia is a big question the whole world has been ignoring for decades. Unfortunately as the international community we have been silently watching the people of this war-torn country suffering, being driven away from their homes and even becoming victims of terror. We should openly admit that we all have a responsibility in this. Today is the time to give back to the Somali people what has been taken from them. Today is the day international actors and friends of Somalia will come together with a unified resolve and in a determined way, with cooperation as well as coordination, to help these people.

With this aim, Turkey has taken a concrete step to help her Somali brothers and sisters get rid of the life-threatening challenges they have been facing for a long time. The visit of the Turkish prime minister together with his family and members of the Council of Ministers to Mogadishu in late August 2011 became a remarkable starting point on this path. Following this historic visit, Turkey launched a comprehensive campaign to meet the needs of the people and the government of that beautiful country. It coincided with a severe drought that hit the Horn of Africa, and our efforts also concentrated on combating this natural disaster.

Shortly after this visit, our embassy was reopened after nearly two decades, with a resident ambassador, as Turkish NGOs, representatives of different aid organizations and public departments arrived in the country to carry out their work. Our intention was also to draw the attention of world public opinion to this tragedy. Turkey took the initiative to inform her international partners in every possible forum about the needs of Somalia and the urgency of meeting them.

Today, we gladly observe that the reaction of the international arena on this issue is visible. With the UN to be the first, some international actors are now considering establishing ties with Somalia. However, these are not enough to revitalize this long-suffering country and put it on its feet again. More aid, more work, more support are needed from all of us.

The aim of the Second Istanbul Conference on Somalia, to be held in Istanbul on May 31 and June 1, 2012, is to discuss what can be done at this crucial time for Somalia. The transition period is going to end on August 20, 2012, and new administrative and security mechanisms to get the country functioning efficiently should be constructed. My country is pleased to be the venue for the very important discussions about the shaping of the post-transition period, especially in terms of state building.

There are five issues at stake when planning the future of Somalia. The first is the construction of national unity, as this is the precondition for reaching stability and state building. The second element is the establishment of a new political system wherein the new state, government and institutions should be composed of all the parties in Somalia. The third point is that a new comprehensive economic reconstruction strategy should be assembled in order to successfully plan, manage and coordinate the work and to facilitate the exploitation of the rich natural resources of the Somalis by the Somalis and for the Somalis. Another point is rebuilding the Somali national security forces, without which economic activity would not be possible. And last but not least is lifting the isolation of Somalia. Concrete steps should be taken in Istanbul to this end. Istanbul will provide a chance to further the resolutions and decisions adopted up to now, the implementation of which should not be delayed any longer.

We also organized a five-day meeting in Istanbul in advance of the Conference, bringing together about 300 representatives of Somali civil society, that will constitute a strong testimony of Somali ownership of the ongoing and future political processes. During the meeting the participants will exchange different views about the realities of their own country and a statement indicating their common views will be issued.

We sincerely hope that all these efforts will thoroughly work to help Somali people change their unfortunate destiny. We are very confident that as long as we are determined to stand by them, this will be achieved.

It is time for the international community to help Somali mothers and children, who have been suffering for so long, wipe away their tears by providing a stable and secure living environment. This will be a remarkable step towards establishing lasting peace, stability and welfare in the Horn of Africa.
The Somalia question will remain a test for the conscience of all humanity.