Nairobi, 09 June 2009 - The UN Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has announced that the 15th meeting of the International Contact Group will be held in Rome, from 9 – 10 June 2009. Representatives from more than 35 countries and international organizations are expected to attend.
"This is an important time for Somalia and it is vital that the international community gives a strong message of support to the legal Government," said Mr Ould-Abdallah who chairs the International Contact Group. "The regional organisation IGAD, along with the African Union are both extremely concerned, as is the wider international community, by the long Somali crisis. They have shown us the way at their recent meetings."
He said Somalia had always attracted support from its friends abroad. The International Contact Group, established by the US and Norway, held its first meeting in 2005 in New York and its second in London. In recent years the membership of the Group has expanded greatly, demonstrating increased interest in resolving the Somali crisis.
The meeting will include discussions on the political, security, humanitarian and development situation. Piracy, which is discussed in various specialized groups, is on the agenda. Somalia's Prime Minister will attend the meeting.
"These talks will be about supporting the legitimate, internationally recognized Government, said Mr Ould-Abdallah. "There is no question of any inter-Somali discussions taking place as some have tried to suggest. The ICG is a group of friends of Somalia not a negotiating forum.
"I would like to thank the Italian Government for offering to host this meeting. We are looking forward to a positive, fruitful discussion."