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The Villa Somalia

Somali President calls for reunification of Somalia

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Mogadishu – Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo today led the country in celebrating the 57th independence anniversary of the northern regions with a call for the reunification of the country.

The ceremony held in Mogadishu was attended by top officials of the federal government and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), among them, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, and AMISOM Force Commander, Lt. General Osman Noor Soubagleh.

On June 26, 1960, British Somaliland became independent followed by the Italian Somaliland a few days later, culminating in the unification of the two regions in July 1, 1960, to form the Republic of Somalia. However, Somaliland broke off from Somalia in 1991 following the collapse of the Siad Barre regime.

Speaking at the ceremony, President Farmaajo called for the reunification of the federal republic of Somalia and Somaliland, saying the move would make the country great again.

Emphasizing the historical significance of the day, the head of state urged Somalis to put aside their differences and unite for the betterment of the present and future generations.

“Brothers attending these celebrations, I am urging our brothers in the northern regions (Somaliland), the youth, the elderly, men and women that it is our responsibility to regain our nationhood and unity of our country. We have to go beyond our recent painful and ugly history, to have a better future,” President Farmaajo observed.

Somali News

Somalia PM Says His Government Demanded US Aid Cut

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Somalia’s prime minister, Hassan ali-Khaire, said his government had demanded the U.S. briefly suspend aid to much of Somalia’s armed forces in an effort to improve transparency and accountability following corruption concerns.

Speaking Saturday to reporters in Mogadishu, Khaire blamed former Somali governments for U.S. concerns about corruption.

“In the first month in office, my government stood for the need for Somalia to be governed on transparency principles,” he said. “To ensure such principles, Somalia and the U.S. government have agreed to this aid suspension.”

He said that the pause in assistance was part of his government’s effort to fight corruption by tackling misconduct and opening the door to accountability.

“We have done a study that made it possible to find out the challenges against rebuilding our national army, including diversion of soldiers’ salaries, lying about the list of the active and alive military personnel, and as a result, we have jointly decided to suspend the U.S. aid to parts of Somalia’s military for a few weeks until we improve and fix the errors,” Khaire said.

Mattis ‘sure’ of progress

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said that he was optimistic about improving Somali accountability concerning the distribution of American aid to Somali armed forces.

“I’m sure we can get this thing under control, even if it’s not for the whole, but for parts of it,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

Despite the aid suspension, Khaire said his government was confident that it had gained the trust of both Somali people and its international partners.

“In the light of the recent IMF [International Monetary Fund] and World Bank reports on Somalia and the work we have so far done, we are confident that we have gained the trust of the Somali people and our international friends,” he said.

For nearly two decades, Somalia has been among the world’s most corrupt countries, topping the list made by the corruption monitoring group Transparency International.

Nepotism, favoritism, bribery and aid embezzlement have been commonplace across all sectors, making many citizens believe that corruption is a normal way of life.

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Somali News

President Farmaajo’s speech at the high-level security conference on Somalia

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The Villa Somalia

Strategic partnership basis of Turkish-Somali cooperation

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Bilateral ties between Turkey and Somalia will be further cemented, as Ankara is fully committed to do whatever is necessary to establish stability in Somalia, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım asserted yesterday following a meeting with Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire in Ankara.

“Somalia informed us regarding the steps that will be taken in security, infrastructure matters, which are crucial for Somalia’s future,” Yıldırım said during a press conference held after the two leaders’ meeting in Ankara.

The prime minister added that the two countries should develop a model on the basis of “strategic partnership,” emphasizing the importance of strengthening bilateral relations. “Our aim is to see a self-sufficient Somalia, a country that take its deserved place among the international community. Last February, the new government took power through peaceful elections, which denotes a maturity of democracy in the country,” he said.

Yıldırım also emphasized the need for an environment of “peace and brotherhood” in order to fully establish stability within the country, adding that Turkey is ready to do whatever necessary. “Without a doubt, an international military presence cannot permanently sustain peace. On one hand, Turkey builds up solidarity with Somalia and on the other, it supports social responsibility and humanitarian aid projects with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs),” he said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), export on South African affairs Eddy Malok praised Turkey’s involvement in Africa, saying the partnership is based on priorities and ideas from the continent itself, not ones from outside.

“What is good about the Turkey-African partnership is that […] it is based on African priorities and it is not imposed. [The partnership] is based on mutual respect and a win-win situation for both sides,” said Maloka, who has decades of experience both as an academic and as an adviser to South African governments. He also thanked Turkey for promoting investments in Africa, saying: “It is a very good model and we want to encourage other countries in the world to emulate this model.”

He added that like Somalia, countries such as Burundi, Sierra Leone and the Central African Republic also need help. “These are the countries that require a lot of support which I am confident that Turkey is able to provide,” Maloka said.

Turkey’s vast efforts in providing aid at the height of the 2011 famine endeared it to many Somali people, and it has continued to bring aid to the country, much of it from private companies.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has visited Mogadishu twice and during his first trip there in 2011, he became the first non-African leader to visit the war-ravaged nation in 20 years.

After this meeting, Turkey geared up in the area of development projects, preparing an aid package totaling $500 million dollars at President Erdoğan’s request, in order to carry Somalia to a self-sustained condition.

Since then, Turkey’s state-run Red Crescent and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), as well as other NGOs, have launched a massive aid and development campaign.

The projects included in the scope of the campaign include building schools, hospitals and infrastructure, as well as providing scholarships for Somalis to study in Turkey. Other projects include garbage collection, road construction, waste water reclamation and debris removal, for the rehabilitation of the people of Somalia and reconstruction of the cities.

The Somalian-Turkish Research Hospital, opened in 2015 by President Erdoğan in Mogadishu, was another example of Ankara’s long-term, permanent projects for maintaining stability in the country.

The 230-bed hospital provides training for prospective Somalian healthcare personnel and was built to serve 2 million people living in Mogadishu and towns near the capital, offering services to 6,000 people per monthly average and conducting roughly 100 surgeries.

Rapid growth in trade volume between the two nations has also followed the developments. In 2010, Turkish exports to Somalia totaled just $5.1 million. However, by last year this figure ballooned to $123 million. In the duration of six years, Turkey has gone from Somalia’s 20th-largest source of imports to its fifth-largest.

urkey also opened its biggest overseas military training base in the Somali capital of Mogadishu in September, cementing its ties with the volatile but strategic nation and building a presence in east Africa. The academy was inaugurated by Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and Somali Prime Minister Khaire in a ceremony held at the training facility where more than 10,000 Somali soldiers will be trained by Turkish officers.

Somalia has long been struggling against al-Shabaab militants, which recently carried out a terror attack and caused death of more than 300 people. After the attack, 35 injured Somalis, including three children, arrived for medical treatment in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

Despite militants having been driven out of Mogadishu in 2010, their deadly attacks remain one of the main obstacles to stability in the Horn of Africa country, which lies along one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

Despite the U.N. having collected $55 billion dollars for Somalia between 1991 and 2011, noteworthy infrastructure projects were not carried out.

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