Tuesday, May 08, 2012
France's ambassador to Kenya, His Excellency Etienne de Poncins, visited Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on 7 May 2012. This was the first bilateral visit of an ambassador of France to the Somali capital since 2008, and the first step towards the recovery of French-Somalia relations.
The Ambassador met with the Prime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, where he highlighted France’s support to the political process which has now entered a crucial phase with the opening of the Constituent Assembly scheduled for the 15th of May this year.
The ambassador informed the Prime Minister that France, a permanent member of the Security Council, fully supports the joint letter of the Special Representative of the Secretary- General, the AU and IGAD on the imposition of sanctions against individuals threatening peace and the political process in Somalia. He recalled France’s massive support worth around 100 million Euros in 2011, besides Operation Atalanta, and France's constant assistance to Somalia, either under humanitarian aid, or its contribution towards Europe’s programmes in the areas of security and development, or support to AMISOM.
The Ambassador also met with the new AMISOM Force Commander, Lieutenant-General Andrew Gutti, as well as the African Union's Deputy Representative to Somalia Mr. Wafula Wamunyinyi, and praised the outstanding work performed by the ASF, alongside TFG forces, in a particularly difficult context. Alongside representatives of the TFG and AMISOM, the ambassador opened the Jazeera Primary School in the district of Medina. France, in partnership with the NGO Jubba Foundation, provided 160 000 Euros to build the school which now hosts 500 children, provides school facilities and meals as well as training teachers. The project initiated by AMISOM working closely with local communities is emblematic of the gradual return to normality in the Somali capital, and is both a sign of hope for the future, and a concrete testimony of France's solidarity with the people of Somalia.
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