|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
At Istanbul Conference Close, Secretary-General Says Speakers Reflected ‘Sense
of Hope’ that, with Adequate Support, Somalia Can Overcome Challenges
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s closing remarks to the conference on Somalia, held in Istanbul, Turkey, 22 May:
I thank every participant for their participation and very constructive support for the Somalia Government and President Sheikh Sharif and the transitional institutions, during these challenging times in Somalia.
Today’s statements also reflect a sense of hope that, with adequate support, Somalia will overcome the challenges it faces now.
We recognize the substantial progress made by the Government of Somalia over the past months, especially given the difficult context in which it is operating.
At the same time, we recognize that more needs to be done to consolidate the gains made in implementing the Djibouti Peace Agreement.
We call on the Somali authorities to demonstrate the will and commitment to work together, to resolve their internal disputes, to unite against the threat of extremism and to improve the situation in Somalia.
In all this, we have heard clearly of the need to advance national political reconciliation, deliver improved services to the Somali people, pay salaries to the Transitional Federal Government security forces and continue efforts to build up security sector institutions, rule of law and respect for human rights.
We have also seen a specific focus on the need to redouble efforts on the draft Constitution. This is a crucial instrument for moving beyond the transition that ends in August 2011.
Until Somalia is able to realize its full potential, we need to assist the Somali Government through this difficult period of transition.
The Somali people need assistance from their Government, the United Nations and the international community as a whole. They are suffering through one of the most serious and protracted humanitarian crises in the world. One in six Somali children is malnourished; more than four in ten Somalis need humanitarian assistance. But the aid community faces serious problems in delivering supplies, because of insecurity and poor infrastructure.
I urge everyone here to do their utmost to ensure that the Somali people receive the help they need.
In this regard, I am particularly delighted at the participation of the business community and the civil society in this conference.
In closing, I wish to thank the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and those countries that have contributed troops, and Somalia’s friends and neighbours, who have shown great commitment in supporting Somalia and the peace process.
* *** *For information media • not an official record