Somali President Meets with the Italian Foreign Minister

Published: July 19, 2010

The Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed met this evening with Italian foreign Minister Franco Frattini. President Sharif was accompanied in today’s meeting by ministers of foreign affairs, defense, post and telecommunications, the Somali ambassador to EU and Italy and the director of communication at the Presidency.
The two officials discussed the best ways to strengthen the half-a-century old close relationship between Somalia and Italy as well as how Italy could play a leading role in the ongoing international efforts intended to help Somalia resist the Al Qaeda takeover plots as well as helping the country tackle the effects of twenty-years of devastating conflict.
President Sharif briefed Minister Frattini on the institutional building efforts of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, particularly in the security sector (which is indispensable for protecting the citizens and creating an environment conducive for development.
In this regard, Italy pledged to train one thousand Somali police officers; they have also promised to help the Somali government fight piracy, minister Frattini furthermore informed the Somali president that Italy will help the rehabilitation of the seat of the Somali Parliament, Somali ministries, particularly the ministry of health, and will spend 5 million euro on various developmental projects.
The fact that Italy has began to stamp visas on Somali passport and that President Sharif is scheduled to meet tomorrow with his counterpart Giorgio Napolitano is a clear signs of the renewed warm relationship between Italy and Somalia.

Minister Frattini pledged that Italy will lobby on behalf of Somalia in all international institutions that Italy has a voice, be it the UN Security Council or the European Union, particularly the need for donors to honor their commitments to the Somali people and to their government.
On his part, President Sharif spoke at length about the double challenges that the TFG faces which he described as fighting with one hand with Al Qaeda-connected local terrorist group and providing services and rebuilding state institutions — which were out of commission for over twenty years.President Sharif thanked minister Frattini and the people and government of Italy for the assistance it had already provided, their new commitments as well as the immense political and diplomatic support it provides to the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.

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