BERN, Switzerland, March 21, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The state secretary, Yves Rossier, met today in Bern with the prime minister of Somalia, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed. Under discussion during the hour-long meeting were the strengthening of relations between the two countries and the implementation of Switzerland’s strategy for the Horn of Africa. The Somali prime minister expressed particular interest in Switzerland’s experiences as a federalist state.
After years of conflict-ridden periods of transition, the Somali institutions in Mogadishu were rebuilt in September 2012 and set themselves the goal of drafting a new constitution for the country by 2016. At the same time, the Somali government voiced its intention to become closer to the people through the building of a federal state structure, thereby improving the country’s stability. During the discussion, Mr Rossier offered Switzerland’s support in bringing various federalist models to the table in the debate taking place in Somalia. This support is part of Switzerland’s commitment to stability and peaceful development in the country.
Today’s meeting with Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed in Bern constitutes a further step in the development of bilateral relations with Somalia, which takes centre stage in Switzerland’s strategy for the Horn of Africa in 2013-2016. On 25 February 2014, Switzerland also acquired an accredited representative in Somalia for the first time in 30 years when Ambassador Dominik Langenbacher presented his credentials to the Somali president. Mr Langenbacher is based in Nairobi.
Switzerland is active in various areas in Somalia as part of its strategy for the Horn of Africa: food security, rural development, health, good governance, conflict transformation, peacebuilding, migration and civilian protection. The goal of the strategy is to fight poverty, improve human security and stability, and provide support in overcoming the challenges of migration. Around CHF 15 million per year has been earmarked to implement the strategy in Somalia from 2013 to 2016. Switzerland’s engagement is being coordinated with the international community as part of the “New Deal” for Somalia, a development plan negotiated together with the Somali government and funded by key donors.
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