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Ireland's Intervention at the Somalia Partnership Forum by Minister of State Cannon T.D.

On behalf of the Government of Ireland, I would like to begin by thanking the Federal Government of Somalia, the EU and Sweden for co-hosting this Forum.

Ireland stands with the international community in our unwavering support to the people of Somalia and join in the collective commitment expressed here today to the Federal Government of Somalia as it continues in its peace building and state building efforts in the country. I also commend efforts to deepen the federalisation process, reform the electoral system and ensure sustainable and inclusive development across the country to accelerate economic growth.

This Forum provides an important opportunity to take stock of the tremendous achievements of recent years, and we commend the Federal Government and Federal Member States for their leadership and commitment. Although we have seen significant progress, the terrorist attacks on civilians in recent weeks demonstrate the ongoing fragility of the situation and the reversibility of hard-fought gains. Ireland will continue to stand with the EU and our international partners in solidarity with Somalia as we redouble our efforts to secure a peaceful and stable future for the country.

Ireland wishes to emphasise the important role of AMISOM in terms of avoiding a security vacuum and for allowing the political process to continue. In this regard, we stress the importance of sustainable and predictable funding for AMISOM in the years ahead, and I am proud of the significant financial support provided by the EU since 2007 (€1.6 billion to date). I encourage the other donors to step up – together with the EU – and provide financial support to AMISOM.

It is essential to build the capacity of the Somali security forces to gradually take over security responsibility for its people. To achieve this, there must be sufficient progress in implementing the Transition Plan. This needs to be combined with support for the softer elements of the transition, including the new federal policing model, enhancing the rule of law, supporting reconciliation and local conflict resolution. In this regard, I would like to stress the vital role played by women in grassroots mediation and peacebuilding.

We must not lose sight of the humanitarian crisis in Somalia. It was through the coordinated and ramped-up efforts of the Federal Government and international donors that famine was averted last year and we cannot be complacent given the ongoing seriousness of the situation. Ireland has been a consistent supporter of the humanitarian response in the country year on year, providing some €40 million in humanitarian assistance since 2012. Our support is provided to our NGO partners on the ground and through the UN-managed Somalia Humanitarian Fund and its local-level decision making and responses.

We must continue to work to strengthen resilience in Somalia and we commend the development by the Federal Government of Somalia of the Resilience and Recovery Framework which will help focus efforts on moving beyond the cycle of shock and response and address the root causes of acute needs in the country.

Somalia stands at a crossroads, and with our collective ongoing support and cooperation, we can help to consolidate the political, security, and economic gains of last year and help the country stay on the right path. Allow me to restate Ireland’s firm solidarity with the Federal Government of Somalia and our deep commitment to supporting all efforts in building a safe and prosperous future for all Somali citizens.

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