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LODNON, May 12 (NNN-ENA) -- Somalia will continue to need substantial support from the regional and international community to maintain the progress it has gained so far, says Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, who is also the current Chair of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the eight-nation Horn of Africa grouping.

Addressing the 2017 London Conference on Somalia here Thursday, he mphasized the need to consolidate the support to Somalia to accelerate the progress achieved in that country, saying: Let us empower the Federal Government of Somalia. Let us speak with one voice. Let us be focused, follow one channel of intervention for regional and international collaborative action. This, I believe, is the only viable option. Otherwise we can be sure that the progress will be so sluggish.

The support of the international community is most needed in fighting terrorism, mitigating the effects of drought, curbing the cholera outbreak and ensuring economic recovery to ensure lasting peace and sustainable development in Somalia, he added.

He noted that the Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia were on the retreat but expressed concern that it was still dangerous with the capacity to launch terrorist attacks both in Somalia and outside the country. It was therefore critical to strengthen the capacity of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somalia National Army so they could effectively deal with Al-Shabaab and for the latter to progressively take over the fight against Al-Shabaab from AMISOM.

We, in the region, will continue to shed our blood, pay immense sacrifices and do whatever is just and necessary to restore the long-sought-after peace and tranquility in Somalia and across the region. There is no greater contribution, no greater solidarity than this, he stressed.

With drought looming in the region, Hailemariam said the current climatic and migration situations would have serious political and security implications and needed to be urgently addressed.

The number of refugees from conflict-hit and drought-affected countries in the region crossing into neighboring countries will continue to rise unless an intensified response mechanism is put in place. A cholera epidemic in Somalia with spillover effects is also a cause for concern which needs close follow-up and intervention, Hailemariam said.

He added that supporting Somalia's economic recovery so that the country could offer its people better livelihoods and jobs, and which generates domestic revenue will be essential to enduring stability and sustainable development.

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed promised to take steps to nurture democratization, fight terrorism and corruption, ensure stability and unleash Somalia's potential for development.

We believe that the only path to a fully recovering Somalia is strengthening our democratic institutions. To that end, I will spare no effort to realizing the promise of my campaign, which was to fight Somalia's three major enemies -- terrorism, corruption and poverty.

Acknowledging that good politics must be inclusive, participatory, vibrant, and on a leveled playing field, the President said the government was committed to solidifying the federal system of governance.

Noting that dialogue on sharing of natural and national resources had already begun, he expressed commitment to be engaged in an in-depth discussion about matters of national importance along with other stakeholders.

President Mohamed, who stated that security remains paramount for his administration, added that the new National Security Architecture and the Security Pact gives Somalia the tools needed to strengthen the Somali National Army and introduce an improved policing model.

Together with AMISOM, the President expressed confidence that Somalia can defeat Al-Shabaab in the next few years. In this regard, he called for support from the international community to defeat Al-Shabaab. -- NNN-ENA

Source: NAM News Network