Ihsanoglu: "The OIC to open Humanitarian Mission in Mogadishu by 2010 to assist in the reconstruction of Somalia"

The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu paid tribute to the United Nations for its central role in global conflict resolution, peace and security restoration along with other international stakeholders including the OIC on the Somali issue. He stated that the OIC has remained in close contact and worked in unison with the United Nations to find the needed ways and means to restore peace and security in Somalia.

Addressing the 16th Session of the International Contact Group on Somalia (ICG) which was hosted today (17 December 2009) by the OIC General Secretariat at its new headquarters' building in Jeddah with the participation of Prime Minister of Somalia, UN Special Representative and around 45 delegates from ICG Members, observer countries and international organizations, Ihsanoglu extended his thanks to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, H. E. Mr. Ahmedou Ould Abdullah for his commendable role and outstanding performance directed towards bringing some tangible outcome to restore peace, security and stability in Somalia. He reiterated that the OIC has always given top priority to the situation in Somalia, an issue which permanently featured on the agenda of all OIC Summits and Conferences. He emphasized the importance of international partnership on this conflict in an aim to find a peaceful and lasting solution to the crisis.

In supporting the implementation of the Djibouti Agreement, Ihsanoglu noted that he has mobilized the Member States and OIC financial Institutions to extend the necessary financial, material and logistical support including assistance for the deployment of the joint security force, contributing troops to beef up the African Union Peace Support Operation in Somalia (AMISOM) as well as participating in the proposed UN Peace keeping operation. However, since the inauguration of the Transitional Government which remains the only internationally recognized authority in Somalia, daunting challenges have continued to militate against rapid progress especially in the security sector, he added.

Ihsanoglu urged stakeholders, to continue to work together with the government of Somalia in order to protect and preserve the collective investment in the interest of regional and international peace and security. He seized the opportunity to call upon all partners to honor their commitments and pledges made at the 23rd April 2009 Donors' Conference in Brussels in support of the Somali security institutions and AMISOM. He stated that stakeholders must continue encouraging the government to promote dialogue and reconciliation with such groups which renounce violence and join the peace process but they must also demonstrate resolute resolve to confront as well as defeat the spoilers and enemies of peace and progress.

He said that the long term solution to the acts of piracy lies in restoring stability on the land and assisting Somalia to establish a robust naval force or coast guard to secure its waters. The Somalis need to be given hope through rehabilitation; reconstruction and economic development in order to make life more meaningful and worth living, he added. To achieve this, Ihsanoglu emphasized that the current Somali government requires massive international support to build a viable economic base and institutions. The Somali government, for its part, must continue to implement all aspects in the transition programme including the constitutional process, promote justice and human rights, alleviate poverty and the humanitarian crisis and seek to deliver basic services to the population in order to win their loyalty and enhance its legitimacy. The Government should be encouraged to evolve a strategy to sensitize, mobilize and use the huge Somali population abroad to promote its overall governance, reconciliation and development programmes, Ihsanoglu declared.

The Secretary General concluded by announcing that the OIC will open a humanitarian mission in Mogadishu as from January 2010 to assist in the reconstruction of Somalia. Moreover, the OIC Humanitarian Affairs Department along with a coalition of civil society organizations in the Member States will soon commence a $50 million worth of humanitarian projects in the field of poverty alleviation, relief and small scale projects. Furthermore, he added that the Department has concluded negotiations with the UNDP South-South Cooperation Unit on the implementation of multi million dollar programmes in health and education.