Follow up on the promise of Egyptian visit crucial- UM

Presidents of Somalia and Egypt during the official state visit in Cairo. Photo Aug. 21,2017/ Villa Somalia

Mogadishu (UM) —President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo’s official State visit to Cairo this week was politically fruitful given the challenges of the Gulf crisis. He managed to meet his counterpart, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, agree on measures to strengthen the two side’s bilateral relations and even take some advice from Somalia’s former President Dr. Abdikasim Salaad Hassan. The Somali residents of Cairo welcomed him most warmly but the main story of this visit was his promise to ensure that his Government will follow up on the agreements reached during the visit upon his return.

Following up on agreements should not be headline news, especially, for a Government as weak and under capacitated as that of Somalia. But it is simply because this has not been happening in the past and where on occasions some actions were taken by Somali institutions and bureaucrats, it was almost always too little too late. This clearly has political and socio-economic impact on Somalia and its partners.

Upon returning to Somalia from Cairo this week, President Farmaajo announced that his Government will be enhancing its educational, policing and institutional building partnership with Egypt. Sources at the Presidency also stated that discussions were held regarding aviation partnership, especially, focused on Egypt Air to start direct flights to Mogadishu in the near future. These successes should make this Government proud but it must be made very clear that these were terms already agreed in the past with the Egyptian Government which were not followed up by the last administration.

To build confidence into the process and bilateral relations of the two countries, the Somali Federal Government must maintain its promise and fulfil its duty to the people by effectively following up on the agreements. This must be done by establishing the necessary mechanism and agreed timelines for working closely with their Egyptian partners. This process must be overseen by the Office of the Prime Minister and supervised closely by the Presidency. This is the best way both sides and their people can engage and strengthen relations and cooperation in crucial areas of common benefit.