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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of Somalia
16 September 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to welcome again here in Brussels President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud at the European Commission.
As you know, today we are organising here in Brussels a major event for the future of the country, a conference on a "New Deal for Somalia". Somalia has made important progress this year and this conference is a recognition of this progress. It's also a proof of the European Union’s commitment to the future of the country and a sign of confidence that the whole international community is sending to the Somali people.
After a successful completion of the transitional period, Somalia now needs to focus on peace building and development. This is precisely what we intend to promote with this "New Deal for Somalia".
I am very grateful for President Mohamud's leadership and ownership of this process towards peace, stability and prosperity. We, as international partners, are keen to support your endeavours in reaching these New Deal goals. Indeed, this will guide our assistance and support in the future. It will change the way we cooperate, by streamlining the financial and coordination frameworks with and in Somalia.
In this discussion with President Mohamud, he was telling me how important the support of the European Union team is. The European Commission, through DEVCO mainly but also the External Action Service, have been working hand in hand and I want to congratulate you, Mr President, because I know that you are personally leading all these efforts, trying to receive the input from people all over your country and that was done in a record-time. And you can imagine how difficult it is in the challenging situation of Somalia today, how difficult it is to establish, in such a short period, this Compact that is now presented here in Brussels in the conference for international assistance and cooperation.
Of course we know that problems and challenges remain – but there is a new momentum now. Somalia's environment is changing.
We, the European Union, have been a long-time partner to Somalia. Since 2008 we have provided more than 1.2 billion euro to support the Somali peoples' basic needs and to improve the country's security. Indeed, 521 million euro were spent in development aid and 697 million euro in security and counter piracy. And today I am proud to pledge an additional 650 million euro to support this new phase in the life of Somalia. And we will also remain heavily engaged in contributing to the country’s stabilisation through our Common Security and Defence Policy missions, the work of our European Union Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, our European Union Special Envoy for Somalia and also by today's conference.
This engagement will continue.
Moreover, our partnership is further underlined by Somalia's accession to the Cotonou Agreement. This opens a new chapter in our relations - and demonstrates that Somalia has regained its status as a fully-fledged member of the international community. With this, our relations have now a solid, contractual basis.
None of us should be complacent with the challenges that remain. We spoke about this in the meeting. Recent terrorist attacks demonstrate the remaining threats to security. Human rights are still under risk in parts of the country. So, the commitment of Somalia authorities to address these issues is fundamental. But the good news is that you are not walking alone. You have the European Union and you have the international community by you.
Finally, we also discussed regional issues. The Horn of Africa is a priority region for the European Union. I believe that regional cooperation in the Horn - for example on trade, infrastructure and refugees' issues - will benefit not only Somalia but the whole region. We therefore warmly welcome the constructive engagement of the Somali government with its neighbours.
Much has been achieved under your leadership. It is crucial that we keep this momentum to ensure that the country stays on the path to stability, to peace and brings prosperity to its people. I know we can count on you; be sure that you can also count on us.