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General News of Thursday, 31 May 2012

Source: GNA

Rawlings in Istanbul for High-Level Somalia Conference

Ghana’s former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, arrived in Istanbul-Turkey on Tuesday to participate in a watershed meeting on the final stages of the transitional process in Somalia.

President Rawlings will be joining international leaders such as UN Secretary-General, Ban Kin Moon, African Union Chairperson, Jean Ping, leaders from troop contributing countries in Somalia as well as the political leadership in Somalia in the UN organised International Contact Group meeting on Somalia, hosted by the government of Turkey.

The conference, which takes place from May 31 to June 2, will discuss among others, political, security and economic development issues such as water, energy and roads.

The conference also hopes to address both the immediate and multifaceted challenges that confront Somalia, including the humanitarian field, and to conceptualize and plan for the implementation of long-term solutions.

As African Union High Representative for Somalia, President Rawlings has been busy on the Somalia issue having visited Mogadishu in the past few weeks and thence to Addis Ababa-Ethiopia, where he played a leading part in a meeting involving principal signatories of the roadmap to end the political transition in Somalia.

On 23 May, the signatories to the Roadmap agreed that the Elders selected by various traditional authorities now meeting in Mogadishu would select the delegates for the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) no later than 20 June.

They agreed that the NCA would convene on 2 July to adopt the new provisional Somali Constitution by 10 July. The new Somali Parliament will be selected by 15 July. The Elders will be assisted in the selection processes by a Technical Selection Committee, which will ensure nominees meet the criteria set out in the Garowe Conference.

At a press conference to announce the communiqué agreed between the principals, President Rawlings commended them for reaching an agreement and urged them to do everything possible to maintain the positive momentum so they can continue to receive the goodwill of not only the people of Somalia but the international community.**

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