EU Commissioner Piebalgs Attends High-Level Conference On Somalia


Andris Piebalgs, the European Commissioner for Development, will be in Istanbul on 22nd May to attend the High-level session of the “Political, Security and Reconstruction Conference for Somalia”, co-convened by the United Nations and the Governments of Somalia and Turkey. Also attending will be a number of Heads of State and Government, Foreign and Development Ministers, as well as the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon. This event will provide a platform for leaders to discuss the situation in Somalia, in particular security issues and stability in the region, at a time when the political situation is deteriorating. The specific issue of reconstruction will also be addressed with the participation of some civil society representatives and the business community members from both Somalia and the international community.

Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs said: “There is no development without security and no security without development. We have to address the grassroots causes of instability in Somalia to allow a sustainable reconstruction of the country, as well as of the whole region. Cooperation and coordination at international level is key to provide new impetus to the ongoing peace process in Somalia”.

This conference is part of an ongoing series. It takes place one year after the Brussels conference on Somalia and a month following the International Contact Group (ICG) on Somalia, which met in Cairo. The conference will not only cover political and security issues but also development and reconstruction activities and rehabilitation of physical infrastructure to strengthen the Somali economy, create employment opportunities and generate revenue.

In more recent years, Somalia has been high on the international agenda due to the humanitarian situation and increasing incidences of piracy off its coast.

The present situation in Somalia poses a threat to itself, to countries in the sub-region and beyond, through potential spill over of terrorism, piracy, illegal trafficking of goods and illegal migration. In the past two years, some progress has been made. The Djibouti Agreement, signed in August 2008, marked a milestone that strengthened the political basis of the “Transitional Federal Institutions”, under the leadership of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed. Cooperation at international level between International Contact Group (ICG) and one on piracy (CGPCS) – needs to be ensured in order to coordinate international efforts to tackle grassroots.

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