Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Somali talks open with appeal for aid drive

31 May 2012, 16:19

 Istanbul - Somalia needs a global reconstruction effort to back up ongoing stabilisation efforts and stop the Horn of Africa's 20-year descent into chaos, leaders said on Thursday at the start of a meeting in Turkey.

Representatives from 54 countries gathered in Istanbul to find a path towards a better future for the country for which the term "failed state" was coined two decades ago.

"After a long period of instability and conflict, we now have ahead of us an opportunity for genuine peace and security," Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said at the opening of the Second Istanbul Conference on Somalia.

The capital Mogadishu - where pro-government forces have largely driven out Islamist insurgents - was now open for business, he said as he called for a broad international reconstruction effort.

The two-day conference - which follows a London meeting in February - kicked off with discussions among senior officials, experts and businessmen on four key issues: water, energy, roads and sustainability.

On Friday, the conference will turn its attention to the political dimension of aid to Somalia, with the participation of UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

"Somalia's future is in the hands of Somalia," Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali told the conference.

The country was ready for long-term development, he said, urging "multiple donors to set up a trust fund for Somalia."

One major objective of the conference will be to outline the future of Somalia by setting goals for 2015, according to the Turkish foreign ministry.

Humanitarian push

The mandate of Somalia's transitional institutions is to expire in August and the current administration is racing against time to reclaim control of the territory before it dissolves.

Lawmakers have struggled to meet the targets set by a "roadmap" signed by Somalia's disparate leaders for the formation of a government by August 20 to replace the weak transitional body in Mogadishu.

Under the agreement, the latest among more than a dozen attempts to resolve the bloody civil war, lawmakers must agree on a system of government for Somalia's fragmented regional - and often rival - administrations.

The Istanbul meeting comes as government troops backed by the AU force and anti-Islamist militia attempt to wrest control of Somalia back from the Shabaab, an insurgent group that has declared its allegiance to al-Qaeda.

Forces from Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti are fighting with the AU contingent, while neighbours Kenya and Ethiopia have also sent troops across the border in a bid to flush out the Shebab.

During Somalia's devastating drought last year, Turkey launched a major diplomatic, economic and humanitarian push and become one of a very few nations to set up an embassy in the capital.

It was opened following a visit in August by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the first major non-African leader to visit the Somali capital in almost 20 years. Direct flights between Somalia and Turkey started in March.

Most dangerous

A stream of Turkish aid workers have been sent to Mogadishu, with some even bringing their families to a city that has been dubbed the most dangerous in the world.

In his high-profile 2011 visit, Erdogan stressed that the international community's response to Somalia was a "test for civilisation and contemporary values".

Turkey has gathered $300m of funds, both from private and public initiatives, to help Somalia, a Turkish diplomat told AFP on the sidelines of the conference.

Turkey also brought into the conference 300 Somali "elders", representing all voices - apart from the Shabaab - to discuss with the world the future of Somalia, according to the diplomat.

Somalia has had no effective central authority since the 1991 ouster of former president Mohamed Siad Barre touched off a bloody cycle of clashes between rival factions.

Since then, the country has been variously governed by ruthless warlords and militia groups in mini-fiefdoms, becoming the epitome of a failed state.


Tags somalia

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...