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Somali president refuses to meet Israel’s Netanyahu.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed has refused to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to Kenya.

Farmajo was in Kenya to attend an African Heads of State meeting in Nairobi.

Hamas praised the leader’s move in standing in the face of the oppressor and refusing to meet him.

Senior Hamas member, Mousa Abu Marzouq, said: “With the example of these leaders, attitudes have value and meaning, and their country has respect and appreciation, and their people have dignity.”

Hamas’ Izzat Al-Rishq also thanked the Somali president’s position which he said “reflects the authenticity of the brotherly Republic of Somalia in standing with Palestine and rejecting any normalisation with an entity which occupies land and holy places.”

EU warns US to avoid changes in Jerusalem’s status.

The European Union on Tuesday warned of possible “serious repercussions” if U.S. President Donald Trump decides to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the U.S. embassy there.

Trump on Monday delayed a decision on the highly contentious issue — a crucial question in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — after public warnings from allies and private phone calls between world leaders.

The EU, which supports a two-state solution to the conflict, warned against doing anything that would jeopardize the peace process.

EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, after a phone call with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, released a statement saying that the U.S. should avoid unilateral action affecting Jerusalem’s status.

“Since early this year, the European Union was clear in its expectation that there can be reflection on the consequences that any decision or unilateral action affecting Jerusalem’s status could have,” Mogherini’s office said in a statement.

“It might have serious repercussions on public opinion in large parts of the world,” it added.

“The focus should therefore remain on the efforts to restart the peace process and avoiding any action that would undermine such efforts.”

Trump has yet to make his final decision, US officials have said, but he is now expected to stop short of moving the embassy to Jerusalem — though he may still recognize the city as Israel’s capital.

Jerusalem remains at the core of the perennial Israel-Palestine conflict, as Palestinians want Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, whereas Israel unilaterally declares Jerusalem as its capital, without foreign recognition.

Both Israelis and Palestinians claim Jerusalem as their capital and previous peace plans have stumbled over debates on whether, and how, to divide sovereignty or oversee holy sites.

The 28-nation EU said it would “continue to engage with both parties and its international and regional partners” to support a resumption of a meaningful peace process.

During his election, Trump promised to relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his “concern about the possibility that the United States unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel.”

Macron told Trump over the phone “that the question of the status of Jerusalem will have to be settled within the framework of peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, aiming in particular at the establishment of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and safe with Jerusalem as capital,” read an Elysee statement.

Israel captured East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab – Israeli War and continues its occupation in whole West Bank despite the 1948 Agreement.

Somalia Signs Jeddah Amendment on Illicit Maritime Activity.

Somalia has become the 14th signatory to the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct – the instrument developed and adopted by countries in the Western Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden that has been a key factor in repressing piracy and armed robbery against ships operating in that region.

The Amendment significantly broadened the scope of the Djibouti Code when it was adopted at a high-level meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in January 2017. It covers measures for suppressing a range of illicit activities, including piracy, arms trafficking, trafficking in narcotics, illegal trade in wildlife, illegal oil bunkering, crude oil theft, human trafficking, human smuggling and illegal dumping of toxic waste.

H.E. Mariam Aweis, Minister of Marine Transport and Ports, Federal Government of Somalia, deposited the instrument with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters in London on December 1.

In a resolution adopted last month, the 15-member U.N. Security Council urged Somali authorities to continue passing comprehensive anti-piracy laws, to establish security forces with clear roles and jurisdictions to enforce the laws and to strengthen the capacity of Somali courts to investigate and prosecute pirates.

The Security Council also called on U.N. member states to adopt legislation to facilitate prosecution of suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Many development and security experts agree that until the underlying issues wracking Somalia, such as poverty, instability, drought and famine are solved, piracy may continue.

The nation’s current humanitarian crisis, which was triggered by the failure of consecutive rainy seasons, has led to massive displacement, disease outbreaks and malnutrition, with 6.2 million people – half of the country’s population – now in need of humanitarian assistance. Some four million of them are children.

UNICEF estimates that 232,000 children have or will suffer life threatening severe acute malnutrition over the next year. UNICEF, with funding from the governments of China, Japan and Sweden, has been helping to secure clean water supplies and is also helping with education initiatives for children.

Puntland State education statistics show that approximately 19.5 percent primary school children in Puntland have dropped out of school due to drought, with the Bari District where the hijacked Aris 13 oil tanker was directed earlier this year, showing particularly high dropped out rates (30.1 percent for both boys and girls).

Other signatories to the Jeddah Amendment are Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Tanzania and Yemen.

UN voices support for Somali Government’s efforts at first-ever security conference in Mogadishu.

 At Somalia’s first-ever security conference, hosted by the country’s Federal President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo” in the capital, Mogadishu, participants agreed to speed up security sector reform and develop a plan to transfer primary responsibility for the country’s security from the United Nations-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to its own security forces.

“Security is our greatest requirement if this country is to realize its full potential,” President Farmaajo said in his keynote address. “As a Government, we are absolutely determined to win the war against al-Shabaab and (Islamic State) with the full support of our international partners. Without security and counter-terrorism, there cannot be a peaceful, prosperous and progressive Somalia to which we all aspire.”

The conference was jointly convened with the UN and the African Union (AU) and featured the participation of Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, the presidents of Somalia’s five federal member states, cabinet ministers and a host of ambassadors and other senior representatives of the international community. The top UN official attending was the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating.

In his remarks, Mr. Keatinig voiced support for the Federal Government’s commitment to pursue a comprehensive approach to security in the country.

“Defeating al-Shabaab cannot be done exclusively by military means,” he said. “Rule of law and policing are essential, stabilization activities [in recaptured areas] are essential. Countering and preventing violent extremism are also essential as well as addressing and solving the many conflicts around the country on which al-Shabaab and other extremists thrive.”

The conference was organized as a follow-up to last May’s London Conference on Somalia, which endorsed a landmark political agreement on a new national security architecture reached by federal and state leaders earlier this year and formally adopted a security pact for the country.

communiqué issued at the end of the meeting identified three priority areas that require immediate action by Somali authorities with the support of the international community. These include the implementation of the approved national security architecture, the urgent development of a realistic, conditions-based transition plan to enable Somali security forces to take over primary responsibility from AMISOM for protecting the people and Government of Somalia, and continued international support to build the capacity of the country’s security forces and institutions.

Security has been a major issue for the east African country, which has suffered a range of violent attacks linked to extremists. In mid-October, hundreds of civilians were killed and injured in a massive car bomb blast outside the entrance to a hotel in Mogadishu’s K5 junction, which is home to government offices, hotels and restaurants.

Senior Somali Government officials and leading representatives of the international community will reconvene on Tuesday for a so-called Somalia Partnership Forum that will address the pressing humanitarian and development issues facing the country.

Al-Shabaab group ambushes Somali soldiers in Middle Shabelle region.

At least 5 Somali military soldiers included senior commander were killed Sunday in an ambush by Al-Shabaab near Bal’ad district 30km north of the capital Mogadishu, local officials said.

Ahmed Mayre Makaraan who is the governor of the Middle Shabelle region where the attack took place, says that also 3 militants were killed in the accident.

Among the killed was senior Somali Military commander identified as Mohamed Rage whose car was hit with a RPG fired by the militants.

“We have also confirmed that four of our soldiers were killed in the attack,”said the governor.

Al-Shabaab group on its radio Andalus claimed responsbility of the attack saying, it has killed top military commander and his bodyguards in the Middle Shabelle region.

Somali troops and long with the african union forces stepped up military operations against the militants in Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle regions. The militant group, Al-Shabaab is also facing with an increased airstrikes by US drones.

By Mohamed Odowa

Death Toll for October Somalia Attack Rises to 51.

The death toll in a truck bombing in Somalia in October now stands at 512, according to the committee investigating the tragedy.

The toll had been reported as 358. Even at the lower number, the bombing was the deadliest in Somalian history.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack. Somalian officials have blamed the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group, which has been trying to overthrow the government and has deployed bomb attacks against government, military and civilian targets.

The committee, known as the Somali Emergency Operation Center, was established to investigate the October 14 bombing in Mogadishu. The government was to receive the report this week, but as of Saturday it had not commented.

In response to the October attack in Mogadishu’s Kilometre 5 neighborhood, the U.S. military expanded its operations against al-Shabab and increased the frequency of airstrikes targeting jihadist leaders.

The U.S. military now has more than 500 personnel in Somalia

—VOA

UN creates role to help refocus aid for Somali refugees.

created 11 months ago to address the refugee crisis.

He said the High Commissioner felt it prudent to have a special envoy who would work to refocus attention to the displaced Somali population that require continued protection, attention and support.

“The position was created because there was a feeling that now a role like this one will generate interest,” he said. “We didn’t expect the world to forget but the world forgot. We have to get this matter on the international radar.”

The UN member states decided on a new approach towards the protection of refugees through the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework.

“This is an attempt to not only help the refugees but also to the host countries,” he said. “The country needs more time before it can be out of the woods – we are not in a position today to say that Somalia can receive back all its population because the conditions inside the country aren’t safe nor stable to allow massive return but we can prepare this population for eventual return by giving them a dignified stay in the camps.”

Last March, the leaders of host countries met in Nairobi, Kenya, where they agreed on a roadmap and plan called the Nairobi Declaration.

“It’s a plan of action towards finding a durable solution to the Somali refugee crisis. I’m very happy for their long hospitality because even they are struggling with their local populations but now they’ve taken the extra burden and responsibility to host Somali refugees for 27 years and continue to provide the generous support to them until such a time that Somalis can go back home to live in peace and dignity.”

Mr Affey said such countries had shown a strong commitment to the cause. “I’m hoping the UAE will contribute to that Declaration and that my mission will generate interest to find a space to support them.”

UN Envoy on Somalia brings with him regional experience

In September last year, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, announced the appointment of Mohammed Abdi Affey as his Special Envoy on the Somali Refugee Situation. He said that the path towards stability and prosperity in Somalia must include solutions for Somalis in exile through the region and that the Special Envoy would assist the UNHCR to maximise efforts in the search for solutions for Somali refugees and asylum seekers at national and regional levels.

Mr Affey brings with him extensive regional experience, having most recently served as the Special Envoy to Somalia for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Previously, he held senior positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya, serving as Kenya’s Deputy Minister and later as Kenya’s Ambassador to Somalia.

From March 2008 to February 2013, as a Member of Parliament in the Kenya National Assembly, Mr Affey moved several assembly resolutions supporting the stabilisation of Somalia by the African Union at the African, Caribbean, Pacific/European Union joint parliamentary assembly. In 2007, he was awarded the Moran of Burning Spear (MBS) by the president of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki.

Born in 1968 in Kenya, Mr Affey graduated from the University of Nairobi in 2010 with a master’s degree in International Relations and a major in International Conflict Management.

2 Somali Soldiers, 12 Militants Killed in Al-Shabab Ambush.

At least two Somali soldiers and 12 militants were killed Friday when al-Shabab militants attacked a convoy in central Somalia, according to a senior regional official.

Militants ambushed a convoy carrying the Hiran regional governor, Ali Jeyte Osman, and other top military officials, near Hees Village, about 80 kilometers northwest of the regional capital, Beledweyn.

“We have killed 12 of them and … we lost two soldiers,” General Ahmed Mohamed Tredishe, commander of the Somali National Army in the region, told VOA Somali.

He said the governor and others traveling with him survived the attack and continued their travels.

Militants flee

Meanwhile, militants loyal to the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militant group are said to be fleeing northward toward Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region.

“We have received reports of movements by armed al-Shabab militants fleeing from U.S. strikes in and around the region from southern Somalia,” said Tredishe.

Villagers and pastoralists have told Somali radio stations over the past two days that they spotted militants with haggard faces who appeared to have abandoned their bases in the south.

The U.S. has carried out at least 30 air, missile and drone strikes in Somalia this year. Seven of those strikes took place between November 9 and 14, with two aimed at Islamic State militants in Somalia.

Simultaneously, the Somali National Army and African Union troops have conducted smaller operations to flush out al-Shabab militants from their main supply routes close to Mogadishu, ahead of a larger-scale offensive promised by the Somali government.

Former al-Shabab leader returns

Meanwhile, in the southern Somali town of Baidoa, hundreds of residents have welcomed a longtime militant leader who defected from al-Shabab before surrendering to the government in August.

Mukhtar Robow Ali, also known as Abu Mansour, returned to his home region Friday, telling his supporters he has come back with something valuable.

“You will hear from me about that valuable thing soon,” Robow said.

Robow did not elaborate, but sources say he has agreed with the Somali government to join the fight against extremism and the militants he once led. Robow was a cofounder of al-Shabab in 2006 and was the group’s deputy emir before breaking with the group’s late supreme leader, Ahmed Godane, in 2011.

Why the U.S. Military is in Somalia.

Somalia collapsed as a state, beginning in the late 1980s, and the Somali people have suffered some 30 years of war, displacement, and famine ever since.

The Somali conflict has crossed borders, primarily into Kenya, where large-scale and high profile terrorist attacks have killed hundreds of innocent civilians, including college students in their dormitories and shoppers in a Nairobi mall.  There were also attacks against civilians in Kampala, Uganda.

The election of the current government, led by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who is widely known by his nickname, “Farmaajo,” has given Somalia its best chance for a just and lasting peace in over a generation.  The U.S. Africa Command and U.S. military, in close collaboration with the U.S. Mission to Somalia and U.S. Agency for International Development, are working with his administration across the “3 Ds”:  development, diplomacy and defense.

The U.S. response to the challenges in Somalia has been to work with the Federal Government and the Federal Member state administrations, in coordination with the African Union, the United Nations, and other partners working toward a common goal: to support Somali-led efforts to stabilize and rebuild their country along democratic and federal lines.

For our part, U.S. Africa Command and the U.S. military are committed to serving as the security component of the broader political-diplomatic efforts of the U.S. Mission to Somalia, whether it is in protecting U.S. personnel and facilities, or in supporting Somali forces through train and equip, as well as advise and assist missions. 

AFRICOM efforts are in conjunction with Somali National Security Forces, and are providing direct support to the five primary troop contributing countries in the African Union Mission in Somalia, also known as AMISOM: Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia.  We work with the United Nations, the European Union, and a range of traditional and non-traditional partners including the United Kingdom, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Our military actions, to include strikes against the Al-Qaeda-aligned Al-Shabaab terrorist group and – more recently – against a new Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-aligned group, are done in support and with the concurrence of the Federal Government of Somalia.  Our policy is to support Somalia-led efforts to encourage members of the Al-Shabaab and ISIS to defect and pledge support to the Somali Government.  When that is not possible, our military policy to target these groups is in accordance with the laws of armed conflict and in support of our broader stabilization goals.

Background

Our work in Africa reflects the reality that those who are at greatest risk there from violent extremist organizations are the Africans themselves.  Groups such as Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have killed tens of thousands of their fellow Africans, indeed tens of thousands of their fellow Muslims.  Our work also reflects the local, regional and global threats posed by Al-Shabaab and ISIS-Somalia, threats that can be best addressed over the long term by inclusive and effective Somali governance, including security forces able to exert control over territory.

A safe, stable, secure and prosperous Africa is an enduring United States interest and a key component of our U.S. foreign policy.  In support of this policy, AFRICOM, in concert with other U.S. Government agencies and partners, conducts sustained security engagement through military-to-military programs, military sponsored activities and training, and other military operations to promote stability and security in Africa. 

AMISOM troop contributors have been indispensable partners, working together to deter and defeat terrorist threats in Somalia, establishing and expanding security in the country to allow for the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member State administrations to bring unity and representative governance to the whole nation. 

The people of Somalia have considerable work ahead to complete their transition to a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous nation.  Nevertheless, we should take notice of the progress the Somali people have made toward emerging from decades of conflict. Somalis are resilient and determined to defeat the terrorists and forces of instability.  The men and women of AFRICOM stand committed to help foster the conditions for prosperity and security and help the FGS deliver the future that the people of Somalia deserve.

Support to AMISOM

In Somalia, just as it does across the continent, the U.S. military works with African partners to deter and defeat extremist organizations. AFRICOM works by, with and through African and other partners to address these threats. “By, with and through” refers to a strategic approach designed to achieve U.S. strategic objectives in Africa by enabling the security forces of partnered nations who have compatible strategic objectives. This approach places an emphasis on U.S. military capabilities employed in a supporting role, not as principle participants in any armed conflict.

Security operations are executed almost exclusively by the partnered security forces. AFRICOM works with partner forces and based on their needs, conducts training, advising, assisting, equipping, developing security force institutions, and improving the professionalism of the partner military.

As such, the U.S. has been supporting AMISOM since its inception in 2007.  AMISOM, as a multidimensional peace support operation, is mandated to reduce the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups, provide security in order to enable the political process at all levels, and facilitate the gradual handing over of security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali National Security Forces (SNSF). 

The U.S. Government has provided AMISOM with equipment, logistical support, and peacekeeping training. U.S. equipment support has included armored personnel carriers, trucks, communications equipment, water purification devices, generators, tents, night vision equipment, and helicopters. The U.S. Government has provided peacekeeping training to AMISOM through the Department of State’s Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program.

Support to the SNSF

AFRICOM provides training and security force assistance to the SNSF, including support for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to facilitate their efforts to target violent extremist organizations in their country. Training includes advising and assisting the Somali Forces to increase their capability and effectiveness in order to bring stability and security to their country.

There are more than 500 U.S. military personnel in Somalia, a number that fluctuates from time to time depending on training missions, operations and other security force assistance activities that are being carried out in any given month.  This number includes personnel supporting the Mogadishu Coordination Center (MCC) which is a forward element of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa which coordinates training and security force assistance activities for SNSF and AMISOM.  For perspective, Somalia is a nation with a coastline the same length as the Eastern coast of the United States.

“The key concept to understand is that everything we do in Somalia is at the request of the Federal Government of Somalia and part of our military support to public diplomacy efforts of the State Department,” said AFRICOM Commander, U.S. Marine Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser. “Africa Command and the Department of State are working as part of a substantial international security assistance effort coordinated by the U.N. Special Representative to the Secretary General.”

Waldhauser said that the international effort includes the United Nations, European Union, U.S., United Kingdom, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. The aim of these international partners is to demonstrate sufficient progress in building the SNSF in 2017 and 2018 to justify an extension of AMISOM beyond 2019.

“All the work we do by, with and through AMISOM and our Somali partners, whether dealing with the threats they face or training them to improve their capabilities is geared toward one goal,” Waldhauser said.  “And that is establishing a secure enough environment for the broader diplomacy efforts related to national reconciliation and the building of a viable, capable and representative government in Somalia.”

Whole-of-Government Approach

The U.S. takes a whole-of-government approach to addressing security issues and broader challenges alongside Somalis, because the solutions in Somalia require efforts beyond just the military.

U.S. foreign policy objectives in Somalia are to promote political and economic stability, prevent the use of Somalia as a safe haven for international terrorism, and alleviate the humanitarian crisis caused by years of conflict, drought, flooding, and poor governance. The U.S. is committed to helping Somalia’s government strengthen democratic institutions, improve stability and security, and deliver services for the Somali people.

The U.S. has provided $1.5 billion in humanitarian assistance in Somalia since 2006 to address the problems of drought, famine, and refugees. Since 2011, we have provided an additional $240 million in development assistance to support economic, political, and social sectors to achieve greater stability, establish a formal economy, obtain access to basic services, and attain representation through legitimate, credible governance. (Dept. of State Fact Sheet, April 12, 2017)

The U.S. works closely with other donor partners and international organizations to support social services and the development of an effective and representative security sector, including military, police, and justice sector, while supporting ongoing African Union peacekeeping efforts.

USAID is working to increase stability and reduce the appeal of extremism in Somalia through programming that fosters good governance, promotes economic recovery and growth, offers youth skills training, provides support to famine relief efforts, and works to increase social cohesion through improved community with government relationships.

Security Cooperation

Security cooperation is one of our core missions at AFRICOM because we know that partnering with African states and regional bodies to improve their capabilities and knowledge is important in addressing shared security challenges.

Continued support to AMISOM is one of the important multinational efforts in place today. AMISOM has achieved significant territorial gains against Al-Shabaab and has partnered with SNSF to improve their operational capabilities.  The resulting improvement in the security situation has led to greater opportunities for progress in good governance and improved economic conditions for all Somalis.

“We have made some measureable progress in Somalia, but there is certainly more work to be done,” said Waldhauser. “And with the strong relationship we have established with President ‘Farmaajo’ and his government, and working closely with our allies and partners; the goal of a safe, stable and prosperous Somalia is something we will all continue to work toward together.”

Qatar Development Fund supports Somali economy.




Wednesday November 29, 2017

H E Khalifa bin Jassem Al Kuwari, Director General of the Qatar Development Fund and H E Jamal Mohammed Hassan, Minister of Planning, Investment and Economic Development, representing the Somali government, signing the agreement.


The Qatar Development Fund (QFD) has pledged to support the Somali economy through a package of $200m worth of projects in the fields of infrastructure, education, economic empowerment, By signing a partnership agreement with the Somali Government aimed at strengthening its efforts in the area of ​​stability and economic development.

The agreement was signed by H E Khalifa bin Jassem Al-Kuwari, Director General of the Qatar Development Fund and HE Jamal Mohammed Hassan, Minister of Planning, Investment and Economic Development, representing the Somali government.

 

The project includes the implementation of several developmental projects including the construction of the Mogadishu-Jawhar road for 90 km, the Mogadishu-Afgoy road with a length of 30 km, the rehabilitation of the prime minister’s building, the rehabilitation of the Ministry of Planning, Investment and Economic Development, the rehabilitation of the Mogadishu municipality building, And building the building of the Diplomatic Institute in addition to supporting the Silatech Foundation to empower unemployed youth through vocational and technical training projects in the various Somali government and states.

The projects will also include the signing of a memorandum of understanding to support education programs in Somalia between the Qatar Development Fund and the Education Foundation above all.

H E Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Kuwari, Director General of the Qatar Development Fund (QFD) said that this commitment is part of the commitment of the State of Qatar to the brothers in the Somali government and people.

It is an extension of a number of development projects between the two countries. Economic empowerment and job creation for youth and empowerment of women. He added that the State of Qatar is keen to strengthen the efforts of the Somali government to achieve its national interests.

“We are grateful for the support of the State of Qatar over the past years,” said HE Jamal Mohammed Hassanouser, Minister of Planning, Investment and Economic Development of Somalia. He also stressed that the bilateral relationship between the two countries has been outstanding.

He also praised the support provided by the State of Qatar in other fields, Humanity, education and health to restore Somalia’s health.