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General News of Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Source: Media Excel

President Rawlings Visits Mogadishu

.....AND CALLS FOR URGENT AID TO SOMALIA AS IT FACES WORST FAMINE IN DECADES

Mogadishu, 18 July, 2010

On a visit to Mogadishu, Somalia, AU¹s High Representative for Somalia, former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings has appealed to the international community to come to the aid of the country¹s people as they face the world¹s worst famine in decades.

Speaking to the press following talks with President Sheikh Ahmed Sheikh Sharif, Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and Speaker of Parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, President Rawlings said he was here to see for himself the humanitarian situation in Mogadishu with a view to briefing Heads of State on the continent and across the world. He expressed solidarity with the people of Somalia saying: ³We face an imminent difficulty that will cost too many lives.²

He appealed to the international community to ³demonstrate compassion for Somalia² adding that its people should not be viewed through the prism of the country¹s long conflict.

³Prejudice or fatigue on account of the last twenty years would only serve as deterrents or impediment to the delivery of help. We must instead see the millions of men, women and children who are the innocent victims of this situation,² he said. He expressed his conviction that the world would not abandon Somalia in this time of need.

President Rawlings also commended Somali factions who had hitherto blocked humanitarian aid to their areas of control for opening up those areas for aid and supplies.

He thanked Middle Eastern countries, such as Qatar, as well as Northern Sudan for the aid they had already sent to Somalia.

On the country¹s peace process, he said that it was crucial to continue supporting the government as it strives to develop a roadmap to the end of the transition and the holding of national elections. He promised to return to the country as often as he could. ³You¹re not seeing the last of me,² he said.

ENDS

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