Somalia: Statement by President Hassan Sheikh Mahamoud

His Excellency, Paul Kegame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

First and foremost, let me take this opportunity to wholeheartedly congratulate the TANA HIGH LEVEL FORUM BOARD for successfully convening the 2nd TANA High level forum on security in Africa. Special appreciation and gratitude goes to two of the most respected Africa’s statesman and members of the Tana Forum Board His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo and His Excellency Thabo Mbeki. I wish them very best and success.

We are much obliged to our hosts, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, to upkeep international attention and focus to the plight of security and organized crimes in Africa. We all thank our host and those who initiated and organized this forum and the patience, compassion and hospitality to us.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Terrorism is one of the biggest and most challenging security threats facing Africa and the World in the twenty-first century. To meet this challenge, a truly African approach is needed, based on a clear legal foundation and solid cooperation. The Federal Government of Somalia in rejoining to the African spectrum as well as in the community of nations would like to contribute significantly and constructively in developing new ideas and frameworks to combat and improve security, based on our own experiences.

As stated by those who already spoke, I am delighted to pay my tribute and great admiration to the champion and the biggest advocate to peace and stability in Africa in general and in this region in particular, the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Meles Zenewi.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, Africa needs strong commitment from its leaders and people to stand together to combat any sort of illegal activities, including the drugs and human trafficking, illegal arms trade, illegal fishing and maritime piracy, toxic waste dumping, money laundering and any other organized crime in Africa.

I use the word stand together because, current organized crimes are Africanized; Therefore, the effort to combat it MUST also be Africanized. I believe that our concerted efforts mitigated with a strong legal framework; and enforced laws will generate a better image for Africa.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Africa must have the courage to say Crime is a Crime whatever elements it involves, it has no justification, and we have to combat it once and for all both intellectually and militarily in a unified manner.

Let me clarify about the present situation of my country. The challenges that Somalia faces today are complex and differ from the traditional organized crimes. Lack of security and functioning law enforcement apparatus multiplied by prolonged statelessness have created a wide spread instability in the country. As a result, establishing effective security sector remained top priority for my Government. Today, however, there are encouraging signs of progress and hope, and looking forward to stable country with functioning security, justice and law enforcement institutions.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Unlike some other countries, Somalia experiences daily instances of criminality, to the vulnerable people, and abiding citizens losing their confidences and trust to the institutions. The challenge we are phasing is simultaneously building effective security institutions in one hand and fighting organized crimes on the other hand, we have no choice. WE MUST DO IT ON ALL ACCOUNTS.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am a firm believer that our national security depends on having safe and secure neighbors, so our neighbors will depend on a safe and secure Somalia.

The challenges that Somalia is facing today can be won and overcome, if our African brothers and the international communities together assist Somalia in building our security forces and its related institutions with all its effectiveness and oversight civilian leadership. Currently AMISOM is supporting our forces in defeating terrorism in Somalia.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me remind you, that the threats of transnational organized criminal activities in Somalia are not limited to piracy and terrorism. It extends illegal fishing, toxic waste dumping and a huge destruction of our forest charcoal production and export. These activities will not only be illegal but causing for Somalia huge environmental problems that pauses serious danger for generations to come. These crimes have to stop. This must not be seen as a Somali problem. It is both African and global and must be faced in that way.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

We know that the costs imposed by Somali piracy on the global economy are so high and that international mobilization to eradicate piracy is ongoing effort. However, these efforts cannot be sustained without stable Somalia.

Parallel to that, my Government has launched a huge campaign to eradicate the piracy through mediation and dialogue with the community leaders and the local stakeholders. The fruits of this campaign have led to the voluntary denunciation of so many young Somalis to these illegal activities. The Government is planning to present to the international community a plan for reengaging the young former pirates by establishing a vocational training centers and reeducating to abide by the national and international laws.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I believe that Africa is waiting us to fully address and discuss these issues in very frank and concerted way. To combat all sorts of transnational organized crimes, we need to work out a strategy from the local to the global level. The need for effective communications to fight national and international organized crimes must be made locally and globally. I hereby confirm that Somalia is committed to this.

Above all, we need a forum like this august one to organize many events to continuously address and focus on the eradication of these crimes.

May I take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to the Institute of Peace and Security Studies, the TANA High Level Forum Board for giving me the chance to address this forum. I would also like to express the same appreciation of this audience. I am particularly indebted to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn who offered me to participate for the first time in this Forum.

Excellencies, let me conclude by thanking the Federal Government of Ethiopia for being the host for this forward-looking event. Somalia owes you for this endeavor. You are a true friend!


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