Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
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Italy hails recent Somalia political changes


The Italian government has welcomed the recent political changes in Somalia, calling it “a real turning point in the history of Somalia.”

In an exclusive interview with Bar-kulan, Italian ambassador to Somalia Andrea Mazella said the election of the new parliament; new president and the appointment of a new Prime Minister inside Somalia represent a real turning point in the Somalia history.

“We think that the election of the new parliament in Somalia and not abroad and the nomination of the new president, speaker and now also a prime minister who have acquired the confidence vote of the parliament represent a real turning points in the Somalia history with the new legitimacy in the political process that started in 2004 with the beginning of Somali transition,” said Mazzella.

He said this turning point is also a new start for Somalia, adding that his government is fully engaged in supporting the new institutions that have rise up in Somalia.

“This concept has been stressed by our Prime Minister Monti during the mini-summit on Somalia on 26 September in New York where he has encouraged the Somali institutions and Somali people to go height on these achievements and to consolidate peace and stability in Somalia,” added Mazzella.

Mazzella emphasised Italian role in Somalia, saying that his government has been assisting the war-tone country in different fields including infrastructure, health and sanitation sectors in Somalia towards the Novation agreement and the payment of 3,200 Somali soldiers through the Italian African peace facility as well as AMISOM.

The Italian envoy to Somalia stated that such supports will be released towards the UNOPS which has been identified as the agency that will work with the money provided on the innovation about $15 million for the health and sanitation sector and for the infrastructure sectors.

On issues of humanitarian, the envoy said Italy is committed in answering the needs of the Somali people, adding that his country supports a programme in 12 hospitals among all Somalia territories to assist the population “in this difficult moment”.

He said Italy is asking a very high level in all the international community to put in place a quick response programmes to answer the needs of the population.

The envoy says despite the international community with AMISOM faces threats from the Shabaab threat which has been defeated militarily, Italy opts for a civilian strategy in answering the needs of the population as strategies implemented only by military means are not enough for Somalia.

Mazzella revealed that his government is working on plans rehabilitate the Martino hospital in Mogadishu, saying that the resources to rehabilitate this hospital are already in place in UNOPS account, expressing his optimism that the rehabilitation process will soon kick off.

Mazzella also noted that they are working on new programmes for Somali students in studying Italian culture but for now security in the country remains an issue .

“We are actually working on new programmes, training programmes for students of course this does not involve immediately university programmes. But we want that the Somali youth will have the possibility to study in Italian to have a training in Italy, how to do this, in the present security condition is the problem we have to solve we are thinking about streaming programmes, radio and Television programmes that will allow the Somalis who are interested in the Italian culture to study and to go on in their training on Italian culture,” said Mazzella

On issues regarding Italian diplomatic mission in Somalia, ambassador Mazzella said Italy will have its embassy reopened in Mogadishu once security situation in the city and around Somalia is in place.

“As you know we already have some logistical assets in the Mogadishu airport but I suppose the Italian embassy in Somalia could be reopened only when the security condition in Somalia and in Mogadishu specially will be in place and that is why I thing we have to support the new president in achieving security in Mogadishu and all around Somalia. This is absolutely the first priority. After security is achieved the Italian embassy and all other embassies can be established and reopened in Mogadishu,” said the envoy.

Ambassador Mazzella however refuted claims that Italian influence in Somalia has decreased and instead said they still continue helping Somalia to develop, normalize and stabilise.

“I will then say that the influence of Italy is decreasing of course this is different historical moment. The colonial period is over and Italy is trying to help Somalia to work on its own legs,” he said.

The envoy urged the new government to spare no efforts in building an effective federal state in the frame of united Somalia and discouraged any fragmentation based on the federalist agenda by partners willing to support Somalia.

“This is our main point or policy and the preservation of the unity of the Somali federal state is an essential principle if we truly want to turn the page and leave Somalia’s past instability behind the haze,” said ambassador Mazzella.

The envoy ruled out competing with Turkey in issues of Somalia, noting Turkey role in the horn of African nation.

“I don’t think that the role of turkey and the role of Italy in Somalia are in competition. We are not competitors with Turkey”.

He said the Italian interest over Somalia is to have larger number of countries contributing to the stabilisation, the peace process and the development of the country, saying that Turkey and other countries are very well welcomed.

“Turkey has done a very good job till now and my vows are that Turkey can continue on this line helping Somali people to reach better condition of living”.

Source: barkulan radio RBK

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