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Catherine Ashton sets foot in Somalia


(BRUSSELS2) The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton made a surprise visit to Mogadishu today (27 August), while the country is still in institutional uncertainty. Accompanied by several officials from the European diplomatic service (EEAS), in particular the Special Representative for the Horn of Africa Alexander Rondos and the Director General in charge of the "Crisis Response" Directorate of the EEAS, Agostino Miozzo, she met the current head of state, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed (a moderate Islamist who has been presiding the country provisionally since January 2009), members of the new federal parliament as well as the commander of AMISOM, General (Ugandan) Andrew Gutti. She also hoisted the European flag on the new EU premises, located inside the international enclosure of the Somali capital, and intended to house the new embassy of the European Union (see photo). She also wanted to demonstrate Europe's commitment to better governance, development and security in the country, but above all to firmly encourage the Somali authorities to close the page on transition. The end of the transition in Somalia “ will bring with it the prospect of lasting peace, prosperity and stability for the country and for the millions of people who have suffered from 20 years of conflictshe explained.

(credit: EEAS)

Finalizing the transition...

« It is essential that the transition be completed quickly. The new Federal Parliament must finalize the process as soon as possible (...). The new institutions must immediately begin stabilization efforts in all accessible parts of the country. This is crucial for the future of a viable federal Somalia. The people of Somalia must be assured of good governance, transparency, accountability, justice, respect for their fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of worship »

NB: The Somali Parliament will have had to elect its new president, before proceeding to the election of the new Somali president, last week. This procedure has been delayed. And it is normally only tomorrow (Tuesday) that he will elect the new president of the assembly before electing the Somali president next week.

The imperative of reconciliation and good governance

Catherine Ashton also stressed the imperative of reconciliation. " Above all, new federal institutions must reach out to SoMalians from all walks of life, to complete the reconciliation and development of the country, after more than twenty years of conflict. I urge Somali leaders to act quickly, decisively with integrity and in the interest of the Somali people. We look forward to the work plan of the new government and want to stress the urgent need for a mechanism to ensure the proper use of financial resources »You are not alone!

The High Representative concluded with a vibrant " you are not alone ! » citing European efforts, with its three missions deployed on the ground - Eunavfor at sea against piracy, EUTM in Uganda to train Somali soldiers and the new mission EUCAP Nestor, intended to strengthen the capacities of the State", as in (financial) support to the African Union peacekeeping mission (AMISOM).European

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).