We have just concluded a very successful consultative meeting.
Several of the most important stakeholders from Somalia attended the meeting.
The Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament and some of his colleagues were here. Presidents Farole and Alin led impressive teams from Puntland and Galmudug. Ahlu Sunna Wafal Jamaa fielded a very strong delegation, who came from various parts of the country. And approximately two dozen stakeholders from the international community observed the proceedings, including regional organizations such as the African Union, European Union, IGAD (Chair), League of Arab States and Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
The atmosphere was excellent - throughout the plenary discussions, behind closed doors and in the margins of the meeting. Everyone put forward their points of view in an open and candid manner. The mood was marked by mutual respect and the overall tone was highly constructive.
The purpose of convening the meeting was to exchange views and share information on a number of pertinent issues and to resume dialogue. The meeting has produced a series of important ideas and inaugurated a process of continuing consultations among Somali stakeholders and with international partners. Through these consultations, we were able to identify substantial areas of common ground and therefore the importance of working together.
In particular, there was agreement among Somali stakeholders on the following points:
the need to end the Transition according to the provisions of the Transitional Federal Charter, which calls for elections of the President of the TFG and the Speaker of the TFP and his deputies before the end of the Transition, i.e. August 2011;
on the extension of the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs), it was proposed that the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) could be extended for a period of two years; this was not seen as an end in itself, but as a requirement to complete certain critical tasks, including preparations for eventual national elections;
to strengthen security and to redouble joint efforts to defeat extremism - both politically and militarily - and to fight against piracy, human smuggling, illegal fishing and the dumping of toxic waste;
to reform the current TFP and to intensify the process of outreach and reconciliation with the gstatesh, regional authorities, civil society and the diaspora and to make propositions to reform the next Parliament;
to accelerate progress towards a new federal Constitution; it was acknowledged that this is a shared responsibility between the TFIs, the states, regional authorities and other stakeholders including the international community;
previous agreements between the TFG, gstatesh (Puntland), regional administrations and Ahlu Sunna Wafal Jamaa should be adhered to and implemented;
to extend immediate assistance to areas recently recovered from armed groups, including Mogadishu, as well as generally to increase the provision of humanitarian and development assistance - at federal, state, regional and district levels - in order to alleviate the current drought and famine.
During the meeting, the Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator emphasised the urgent need for additional humanitarian and development funding.
Above all, there was agreement on the need to place Somalis at the centre of the process, to act inclusively and in a spirit of partnership.
This meeting is the start of the process. The outcome of the meeting will be communicated to the President and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and all other stakeholders. We must then continue our efforts to forge widespread agreement on how to end the Transition and on how to build peace, prosperity and security. We should meet again soon. It is proposed that the next meeting should take place in Somalia. And, hopefully, next time with the TFG, which has a vital role in taking forward the process.