STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. ISMAIL OMAR GUELLEH,
PRESID.ENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF DJIBOUTI
22 July 2004
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Djibouti, this sisterly country of yours. A country that is fervently committed to the promotion of peace and stability in the region. A country inhabited by people whose strong belief in the values of peace, tolerance and dialogue has helped overcome many trials and tribulations. I hope that you have enjoyed your stay and that Djibouti offered an inspiring environment for you to deliberate on the crucial issues tabled before you for discussions despite the severe heat that we are facing at this time of the year.
We have strong indications that the long-drawn Somali National Reconciliation Conference is irreversibly progressing towards its successful conclusion. I would like to seize this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to His Excellency, Mr. MWAI KIBAKI, President of the Republic of Kenya, the Government and the people of Kenya for hosting that conference for the last two years.
I would also like to express my appreciation to the leadership in the region for the clarity of vision, the seriousness of purpose and the strong political resolve they have demonstrated to assist Somalis in their endeavour to establish a broad-based and all-inclusive Government.
Instead, I must commend the IGAD Ministers who are here with us today for their continued engagement and their commitment to speedy conclusion of the process.
The decision to speak with one voice and to articulate a unified position on the issue gave a strong signal to the Somali parties that the onus lied on them to end a long-running nightmare. They seemed to have got the message right and have since then taken positive actions that have helped move the process forward
There is however a strong need to sustain that commitment, to further accommodate one another, to deepen the political dialogue towards the formation of a successful and balanced transitional dispensation that can extend the process of national reconciliation and security throughout the country.
The charge will be to help Somalia create a secure and enabling environment for the emerging institutions to function and address the mammoth task of consolidating peace, ensuring that there is no return to conflict, rebuilding a country that is devastated by a protracted and senseless conflict. Indeed, the real challenges of the transition lay ahead and comprehensive disarmament is the most crucial among them. The international community will be a vital partner in that endeavour. Immense external resources to be made available to the emerging institutions will be essential prerequisites for a successful conclusion
It is therefore of utmost importance for the. Somalis to take ownership of the process, shape and define the priorities of the transitional strategy, and support the outcome of the Nairobi Conference. In this regard, the contribution of the business community is crucial.
Dear Brothers and sisters,
The development of telecommunication and information technology remains a source of wonder to many' external observers. The entrepreneurial spirit you have demonstrated and the achievements made have certainly triggered hope among Somalis. The most recent illustration of that renewed confidence in the possibility of a better future for Somalia is the reopening of the Coca-Cola Company a few weeks ago.
But it must also say that the continued lack of governance structures, of a regulatory framework and the absence of peace and stability would jeopardize those positive gains. For the survivors to thrive, peace and security and the creation of an enabling environment for business to grow and attract direct foreign investment are indispensable.
Therefore, you must pool your resources and all work together to support the new Somali Government that we hope will soon be formed.
You have a historic role to play and your support will be critical. You may not quarrel with the thinking. You may actually react positively to the idea.
But we need to see signs of that happening in the early days after the formation of a Government. You need to exert all our energies and efforts to draw an action-plan that would translate your thinking into concrete action if we are to expect the new dispensation to be effective
I believe our meeting today will be the most appropriate forum to initiate discussions on a result-oriented strategy aimed at providing a quick-response to the daunting challenges the emerging administration will have to face.
The region will strongly back your efforts and the international community at various fora has already expressed its willingness to support. God help us in our collective endeavour.
I thank you!
ISMAIL OMAR GUELLEH