A Somali official has praised Italy’s show of commitment towards President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed’s efforts to stabilize the country after years of insecurity.
Abdirahman Omar Osman, who is also the treasury minister, said Italy’s pledge to fund key ministries is a major boost to the government.
“We very welcome this and we have been expecting (it). It shows the Italian government’s commitment toward helping the institution of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). As you know, the Transitional Federal Government has been faced with challenge against al-Shabab (which) is linked with Al-Qaeda. Without our institutions functioning properly, it will be very difficult to wipe out or to combat al-Shabab,” he said.
Italy pledged to fund daily operations of Somalia’s foreign ministry, finance and the national security ministries. It will also help train an anti-terrorism police unit and coast guard as well as pay the salaries of police officers.
The pledge follows a recent meeting between President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Italian officials in neighboring Kenya. The Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini announces that Italy is ready to increase bilateral cooperation and financial contribution for Somalia.
After meeting with Somalia President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in Nairobi on Thursday, he told reporters that his country is ready to disburse money in support of three Somali ministries.
Frattini said he offered to President Sharif to form “a very robust anti-terrorism and security police corps in Somalia”.
At a joint press conference in Nairobi, President Ahmed told reporters:
“This was an important meeting; they [Italy] pledged to standby and continue supporting the Somali government and the Somali people, they will be supporting us in a number of areas including security and rebuilding, humanitarian and diplomatic support and to open their embassy in Mogadishu.”
Osman said the pledged funds will help rebuild Somalia’s broken institutions.
“This will help us greatly in rebuilding our institutions. As you know, the Somali government faces the challenge in terms of for the last 20 years we have civil war and no functioning institutions. And the first thing we need is to build up our institutions so they can become strong, and this will help our security force as well, and it will bring peace and stability to the Horn of Africa,” Osman said.
The transitional government has been battling hard-line Islamic insurgents, including al-Shabab, who have vowed to overthrow the administration.