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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with Mr Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of Somalia
30 January 2013
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me start by welcoming President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to Brussels.
We had a very fruitful meeting. It has given us the opportunity to discuss key issues in our bilateral relations but also the situation in Somalia and the future of Somalia, how we can work together to maintain the positive momentum in that country.
Somalia has turned a page and wishes to take ownership of its future and of the well-being of its people. I highlighted to President Mohamud during our meeting the importance of maintaining inclusive and accountable government, respect for human rights and basic freedoms, and the provision of basic social services to all Somalis.
We discussed how the European Union can assist Somalia in achieving these objectives. The European Union is already the largest donor in Somalia, having mobilized over half a billion euros in development aid since 2008. The EU has also provided large amounts in humanitarian assistance, including €60 million this year alone.
The President and I have agreed to enhance the long-standing partnership between Somalia and the EU.
We wish to help Somalia in the challenges ahead so that it can lay the foundations for a better future. In doing this, we attach great importance to Somali ownership and we are listening to Somali needs and priorities.
We also discussed our continued support for security, which is key to creating an environment conducive to sustainable economic growth, where development can take hold and where men and women can contribute to the socio-economic revival of the country.
Making sure that Somalia is at peace with its neighbours is equally important. I encouraged Somalia's active and positive engagement in the region, highlighting the benefits that regional cooperation can bring to all countries in the Horn of Africa. Regional cooperation, for example, in trade and in tackling common challenges, can benefit Somalia and its neighbours.
I was very happy to listen to President Mohamud talk about his intentions and his objectives. We believe that there is a real commitment to go forward, and not only in European-Somali cooperation but also in addressing the very important challenges that Somalia has been facing for so many years. And I believe the Somali people deserve that, they deserve stability, peace, a state that functions, that works, and services that all citizens aspire to, because they have the same aspirations that all other people in the world do. And I believe that we can be part of that process, supporting our friends in Somalia.
The European Commission will continue to engage with and support Somalia on its path to a stable political future.