Cairo, 20 April 2010 – The UN Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, is in Cairo to chair the 17th meeting of the International Contact Group from 21 to 22 April 2010. In addition to the founding members, Norway and the US, representatives from more than 50 countries and international organisations are attending.
The conference, which is being hosted by the League of Arab States (LAS), will be opened by its Secretary-General, Amr Moussa, and the Deputy Head of the Organisation of Islamic Conference, Tariq Bakheet.
"This is an important time for Somalia as we look ahead to August 2011 - the end of the transitional period for the Government and the Parliament," said Mr Ould-Abdallah. "Meanwhile the Government needs to focus on its priorities – defeating its armed enemies and showing that it cares for the population."
Mr Ould-Abdallah said he had a fruitful visit to Mogadishu on 17 April where he met President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the Speaker Aden Mohamed Nur and other Somalis including members of the Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa (ASWJ).
Issues expected to be addressed at the Conference include strengthening the Somali Forces, reconciliation and outreach, the constitution process and the upcoming Conference on Reconstruction and Development taking place in Istanbul next month which will focus on threats and challenges to security and stability in Somalia.
"I would like to thank the League of Arab States for hosting this conference and the African Union, the European Union, Organisation of Islamic Conference, IGAD and the rest of the international community for participating in what I expect to be a constructive and fruitful meeting," said Mr Ould-Abdallah.