Addressing the General Assembly today, Somalia’s Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali thanked the United Nations for all its help during the two decades of factional strife that has afflicted his country and acknowledged that it is now up to Somalis themselves to forge a peaceful and prosperous future.
“The United Nations have stood by us, providing humanitarian assistance to those of our people in need, helping us to rebuild from the ruins of war, bringing us time and again to the negotiating table to resolve our differences, and maintaining the dignity of the Somali nation by keeping our flag flying through these long, dark years,” the recently-appointed Prime Minister said.
“As we emerge from the long dark days, I wish to express my personal thanks, and that of the Somali people, to the Secretary General and his Special Representative, Ambassador Augustine Mahiga, for their tireless support and crucial role in helping to open this new chapter in Somali history,” he added.
After decades of factional fighting and lawlessness, the Horn of Africa country has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with a series of landmark steps over recent weeks helping bring an end to the country’s eight-year political transition period. These steps included the adoption of a provisional constitution, the establishment of a new parliament and the selection of a new president.
However, despite the recent advances in its peace and national reconciliation process, Somalia is still dealing with the impact of the Al-Shabaab militant group, which has been pushed out of Mogadishu but still controls some areas, primarily in south-central regions of the country.
Prime Minister Ali thanked all the international partners who had helped Somalia over the years, including the UN-backed African Union peacekeeping force known as AMISOM – which has been instrumental in supporting Government efforts against the Al-Shabaab – the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Conference, the European Union, Turkey and the United States, among others.
“But now, with all these partners standing by us we must increasingly learn to travel our own path with our own energies, developing the ability to stand on our own feet, and step free from the reliance of our kind friends,” he stated. “Already, the Somali diaspora from around the world are returning to the country with investment and skills that will build the future Somalia.”
The Somali leader stressed that the most urgent challenge is to restore peace and security throughout the country. “Our forces, together with our African Union allies, are making great progress in this regard. But a stable peace cannot be achieved through military means alone,” he said.
Prime Minister Ali is one of scores of world leaders and other high-level officials presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly’s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.