Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, Distinguished delegates, Colleagues, Friends of Somalia
First I would like to join the previous speakers in thanking the Government of Turkey for hosting this important conference here in the wonderful and historic city of Istanbul.
Furthermore I would like to express Norway's great appreciation of Prime Minister Erdogan's genuine commitment to Somalia. He is an inspiration to the rest of the international community.
I would also like to thank UNPOS and the UN Special Representative Ambassador Mahiga, as well as all the others who have helped prepare and organize the conference.
2011 was a difficult year for the people of Somalia. But through joint humanitarian efforts and substantial progress in the security sector, we were able to alleviate the suffering during the famine.
But military engagement and massive humanitarian efforts are not sufficient answers to the challenges facing Somalia. At the heart of the matter is politics. Without a sustainable political solution, Somalia risks perpetuating the destructive circle in which it has been trapped for more than two decades.
What Somalia needs now – to quote Abraham Lincoln – is “a Government of, by and for the people”; A government that can set aside tribal and personal differences and interests, and work for the common good of the nation, and for the future of all the Somali people.
A government of, by and for the people implies that only the Somalis themselves can make the hard choices, strike the difficult compromises and make the painful sacrifices necessary to ensure a Somali state that is inclusive, transparent and just. A state that all Somalis can trust and believe in. To achieve this is not easy. It takes both courage and vision.
If such a project can be achieved I believe we shall be able to look confidently towards Somalia’s future. I am also convinced that the international community will respond to such an opportunity with political support, development assistance and investments to rebuild the country. Arriving here this morning, the briefings I have received on yesterday’s meetings and the general atmosphere are very encouraging.
We are gathered here to make a collective effort to ensure that the extended Somali transition period may be brought to a smooth and peaceful end. The conference theme: “Preparing Somalia’s Future: Goals for 2015” is therefore very timely.
Over the last 10 months we have witnessed important and positive developments in Somalia. Security has significantly improved, both in Mogadishu and in other areas. This is first and foremost thanks to AMISOM and the troop contributing countries, but also because the TFG forces are now better trained and equipped. This has created space for real political development with the Road Map and the Garowe Principles: I would especially like to commend the Signatories for their commitment to advance this process. The meetings in Garowe and Galkayo, and the latest in Addis Abeba - have been crucial for the implementation of the Road Map towards ending the transition period in Somalia.
The humanitarian situation has improved, but is still difficult - especially for the internally displaced - and needs our attention. First and foremost, it is crucial that we avoid further displacement. Furthermore: All parties must act in accordance with international humanitarian law. In particular, all returns must be voluntary.
We are also pleased to see more focus on development and recovery as the situation improves.
We shall also consider more closely how we may respond to the various proposals that were discussed at the partnership forums here yesterday.
Finally we should not forget that Somalia has a tremendous untapped resource for its development in the large Diaspora groups around the world. These are people who have knowledge, entrepreneurship, resources and commitment to their country of origin. We should all try to encourage and facilitate a more systematic tapping of this rich resource.