Your Excellency Mr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, thank you for your warm welcome and hospitality and I highly commend your leadership.
As the President just said, I was in Mogadishu in December 2011, just about three years ago. It is good to be back in Somalia and meet many Government leaders and the people of Somalia. Even though my visit is very brief today, I can already see and feel how the country has made remarkable progress since my last visit.
I am pleased to be joined by the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Kim, and also Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani, President of the Islamic Development Bank, and also I am joined by African Union, European Union and African Development Bank senior representatives from all our partners regional organizations.
We carry two messages above all.
First of all, we know the political, governance, security and development challenges are immense – and we are committed to helping the country address them.
Second, we are confident that Somalia can consolidate the progress and there is much to build upon. Many of the indicators are finally pointing in the right direction.
Dr. Kim of the World Bank and I [inaudible] have a consistent message that peace and security cannot be sustainable without development and development cannot be promoted without peace and security. Therefore, peace and development should go hand in hand. This is why we are travelling hand in hand.
Slowly but surely, Somalia is waking from a long nightmare.
The country is at a pivotal moment.
Al Shabab’s power is declining, but it is not gone. I congratulate the Somali National Army and AMISOM for their advances and the contributions to peace and stability of Somalia. It is critical that they now secure roads to newly recovered areas to enable commercial traffic and humanitarian access.
Politically, this country is coming together like never before. I especially commend the agreements to form regional administrations. These bodies must be inclusive with strong representation of women and young people.
I am very concerned about the humanitarian situation in this country. Over 3 million Somalis are in need of humanitarian assistance and unfortunately that number is growing. I urge donors to step up contributions to avert another famine in Somalia.
In all of our work, we need to keep the focus on delivery of services to the people and strengthening institutions -- including through enhanced public financial management.
I urge Somalia’s leaders to remain united and focus on the country’s peacebuilding and statebuilding priorities. Somalia needs continuity and stability at this critical time.
Our partnership and support in this process is set out in the Integrated Strategic Framework which was just signed by the representatives of the United Nations and the Prime Minister.
Somalia is finally turning the corner – but we can’t afford to take our eyes off the road.
Now is the time to intensify efforts in a united, consistent and coordinated manner.
That is why we are here.
I am very honoured to be with this committed group of international leaders to show our full support for building a solid foundation for peace, development and human rights for all the people of Somalia.