Sweden’ Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister Address to the International Conference for Somalia
LONDON, United-Kingdom, February 23, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Fredrik Reinfeldt, Prime Minister Address to the International Conference for Somalia
Let me start by thanking Prime Minister Cameron for the timely convening of this Conference. This Conference gives us the opportunity to discuss and show our support at a very crucial point in Somalia’s history.
For all too many years Somalia and its people have been suffering from war, instability, drought and famine.
All of us gathered here today – no matter which country, nationality or organisation we represent – deeply wish this Conference to succeed in opening a new chapter in the history of Somalia. But time is running out. And we are rapidly approaching August.
It is now time that eight years of transitional arrangements pave the way for a permanent democratic constitutional order. The Constitution – now in the making – can become the peace-making and unifying foundation for an emerging new Somalia.
It is clear that the responsibility for a new beginning lies above all in the hands of the Somali authorities. Genuine change has to come from within. It will be the task of the new generation of leaders, to anchor a democratic Constitution, consolidate good governance and build confidence among fractioned communities.
To achieve this, the political leadership must be broadly representative, credible and consist of respected individuals. The full and equal participation of Somali women must be ensured.
Politics is the art of the possible. A will to accommodate divergent views must be part of shaping the future governance of Somalia. All who wish to join the political path in a spirit of peace and reconciliation should be allowed to do so. And terror should not be allowed to be used to gain power. Strengthening the rule of law and ending impunity are indispensable to deter such acts.
Sweden has been engaged in peace and development cooperation in Somalia for more than forty years. We have provided food and shelter, medicine and education, and we are ready to continue our engagement. However, our continued support will not be unconditional. We will be firmly guided by the principles of “more for more”.
Delivering aid in a post conflict environment is always extremely challenging. We therefore welcome the proposed Stability Fund that would allow fast and flexible funding, particularly on a local level. If the Somali people do not rapidly see improvement in safety, local governance and delivery of basic services, then the peace process will continue to remain extremely fragile.
It is my firm conviction that the women and girls of Somalia have to be at the center of our joint efforts. If women will be able to fully take part in the development of local administrations, it will increase these institutions legitimacy and also adapt them to the needs of women.
In several respects, Somalia has become a global nation. Many of us around this table host citizens and residents of Somali origin – in my country 40,000. The commitment of this Diaspora to engage in rebuilding Somalia is crucial and needs to be encouraged.
I am convinced that with the joint efforts of us all – Somalis in Somalia – Somalis in the Diaspora – and the friends and supporters of Somalia in the international community – we should be able to support Somalia in the direction of peace, security and prosperity. For the sake of Somalia and its people.
Sweden – Ministry of Foreign Affairs