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article imageSomali FM hails relaunched Canada-Somalia relations Special

By Farid Abdulhamid     Oct 8, 2013 in World
Toronto - As part of Somalia’s ongoing diplomatic offensive, Foreign Affairs Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Fawzia Yusuf H. Adan has toured Canada to rekindle diplomatic ties and urge Diaspora Somalis to return and invest in the homeland.
In Ottawa, the Somali FM held talks with her Canadian counterpart, John Baird, with discussions largely focusing on regional security and relaunching of Canada-Somalia relations. Adan declared that the Al-Shabab militants battling her government are a spent force while the Canadian foreign affairs minister announced Canada plans to spend $6 million on security, conflict management and human rights in Somalia. In both Toronto and Ottawa, H.E. Fawzia Adan met Somali-Canadians in colourful welcoming receptions held in her honour.
Somalia s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs at Toronto s welcoming reception hel...
Somalia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs at Toronto's welcoming reception held in her honour.
Photo: Anthony Berot
Optimistic of Somalia’s future, FM Fawzia Adan, Somalia's most powerful woman acknowledged her country still faces challenges but emphasized that the war-torn country is decidedly on the path to recovery following a two decades-old civil war.
“There are challenges, the biggest being security, which we are actually winning. The terrorists (Al-Shabab) are on their last legs while piracy is now zero,” said the buoyant FM at a Toronto press conference last Thursday.
Somalia disappeared from the diplomatic radar owing to a devastating conflict that had plunged the beleaguered nation into state of lawlessness. But the country is fast emerging from its international isolation following the formation in September 2012 of a permanent government led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud that replaced the last of transitional administrations. Shortly afterwards, Turkey and the UK became the first among foreign nations that have set up diplomatic presence in Mogadishu while the UN has relocated to the sun-baked Somali capital known for its stunning beaches in what was once considered the pearl of the Indian Ocean.
H.E. Fawzia Adan speaking to the media in Toronto.
H.E. Fawzia Adan speaking to the media in Toronto.
Photo: Anthony Berot
FM Fawzia Adan told the Canadian media that her country is actively engaging its diaspora communities including Somali-Canadians. She hailed the relaunching of Somalia-Canada relations adding that the two friendly nations have agreed to exchange diplomatic missions.
“Somalia has been without a permanent government for so long. As a Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, I have been visiting countries with large Somali communities to bring back that relationship and rekindle the flames. Canada has been a great supporter of Somalia. It has supported us on humanitarian front and assisted AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia) fight terrorism. On top of that, Canada has hosted one of the largest Somali communities when they were fleeing from war and conflict. I have been meeting diaspora communities here telling them the country needs them for rebuilding and for investing as Somali-Canadians” said FM Fawzia Adan.
Community activist  Halima Saad  posing with H.E. Fawzia Adan.
Community activist, Halima Saad, posing with H.E. Fawzia Adan.
Photo: Anthony Berot
The Somali foreign minister said she is not a newcomer to her country's affairs, having previously served in a diplomatic capacity and remained engaged with events on the ground throughout the East African nation’s tumultuous years.
“In the past, I served as the Charge d`affaires in Berlin. Afterwards, I had been working with the UN. I had been in and out of the country and had never been away from Somalia” she said.
As security analysts remain skeptical about Somalia, Canada has chosen to maintain a travel advisory for the Horn of Africa nation while UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said in early September that Somalia’s security and political gains are still reversible and that it risks sliding back to failed-state status. Al-Shabab’s brazen attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi and the ensuing four-day siege that claimed 67 lives underlines the fact that the insurgents are still a potent force.
H.E. Fawzia Adan meets Somali-Canadians during a tea reception at Dixon Road s Westin Hotel in Toron...
H.E. Fawzia Adan meets Somali-Canadians during a tea reception at Dixon Road's Westin Hotel in Toronto.
Photo: Anthony Berot
Somali-Canadian media personality  Hodan Nalayeh  posing with H.E. Fawzia Adan.
Somali-Canadian media personality, Hodan Nalayeh, posing with H.E. Fawzia Adan.
Photo: Anthony Berot
Despite international skeptism, the Somali Deputy PM has allayed such fears, painting a different picture on the security situation in the Somali capital. She contends that her government and its AMISOM backers have dealt the insurgents a severe blow stating that normalcy is returning to the war-ravaged nation.
“Mogadishu is safer than most cities in the world and much safer than before. Al-Shabab is diminishing, it is losing morale” she said. “I feel safe going to my office and to conferences. I feel safe moving around.”
The Somali FM heaped praise on Somali-Canadians for their gallant role in rebuilding Somalia.
“Somali-Canadians are among the first to come back to establish businesses and have even played roles in the security sector. They have been sending remittances back home and maintained the link between Canada and Somalia. I am encouraging them to do more and be good ambassadors for Somalia.”
Toronto s Somali-Canadian community turned out in large numbers to welcome H.E. Fawzia Adan.
Toronto's Somali-Canadian community turned out in large numbers to welcome H.E. Fawzia Adan.
Photo: Anthony Berot
On terror recruitment of young Somali-Canadian men alleged to have joined Al-Shabab ranks as fighters, the Somali FM identified socio-economic conditions as the primary cause driving the youth into armed militancy.
“We are aware many young Somali men are without employment. Many come from refugee camps with baggage, coming here without proper education, becoming destructive, doing the wrong things, being in prison and then coming back confused. These young people are being brainwashed that they will go to heaven if they join and fight for the militants” she said.
H.E. Fawzia Adan noted that her government is working with Canada to address terror-related issues affecting Somali-Canadian youth.
“We are discussing with Ottawa to fight terrorism, which is a global phenomenon, not just a problem for Somalia. For the youth held in prisons here, Somalia can help rehabilitate them if brought back” she said.
Despite ongoing security and development challenges, Somalia’s reintegration into the international fold represents a diplomatic coup for a struggling, oil-rich nation that is still reeling from the effects of a protracted conflict that has decimated its pre-war institutions and driven its national economy into doldrums. But regional pundits believe that a newly-constituted Federal system modeled on self-governing regional states may hold the key to a brighter future for war-fatigued Somalia.
H.E. Fawzia Adan speaking to the media in Toronto.
H.E. Fawzia Adan speaking to the media in Toronto.
Photo: Anthony Berot
H.E. Fawzia Adan is greeted by Somali-Canadians at a colourful welcoming ceremony in Toronto.
H.E. Fawzia Adan is greeted by Somali-Canadians at a colourful welcoming ceremony in Toronto.
Photo: Anthony Berot
Somali artists entertain a festive crowd that turned out to welcome H.E. Fawzia Adan in Toronto.
Somali artists entertain a festive crowd that turned out to welcome H.E. Fawzia Adan in Toronto.
Photo: Anthony Berot
A large crowd packed Toronto s Days Hotel to capacity to welcome H.E. Fawzia Adan.
A large crowd packed Toronto's Days Hotel to capacity to welcome H.E. Fawzia Adan.
Photo: Anthony Berot
Participants at the Toronto welcoming ceremony held in honour of H.E. Fawzia Adan.
Participants at the Toronto welcoming ceremony held in honour of H.E. Fawzia Adan.
Photo: Anthony Berot
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