The UAE government and people have been and will remain a major contributor and provider of all forms of support and aid to Somalia, Faris al Mazrouei, Assistant UAE Foreign Minister for Security and Military Affairs, affirmed yesterday at a pan-Arab meeting.
'Over the elapsed three years, the UAE pledged over Dh100 million in humanitarian and financial assistance to Somalia and has provided healthcare services to about 770,000 children and elderly people in addition to other 450,000 cases in the north of the country.
It also opened Hanano Maternity and Children's Hospital in Mogadishu to boost the health sector,' al Mazrouei to the extraordinary meeting of Arab League council at the permanent representatives level.
The meeting aimed at exploring ways of supporting Somalia and crystallising a unified Arab stance which will be presented at international conference on Somalia the UK will host later this week.
On 23 February senior representatives from over 40 governments and multi-lateral organisations will come together in London with the aim of delivering a new international approach to Somalia.
They will discuss how the international community can step-up its efforts to tackle both the root causes and effects of the problems in the country.
He noted the UAE had participated at the preparatory meeting for London conference and H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, will lead the UAE team to the conference and chair a working breakfast on humanitarian assistance.
The UAE, he said, will lend support to major initiatives the London Conference On Somalia will roll out especially the international-African peace-keeping forces, Somalia stabilisation fund and coordination of humanitarian assistance.
'The UAE approach towards Somalia is based on key pillars to maintain peace, security, legitimate rule, and to support development and economy through delivery of assistance to the authorities to enable them build institutions and implement programs on the ground in areas of justice, security, education and infrastructure and work with Arab countries to launch joint development projects in association with international partners and multilateral international organisations,' he added.
The UAE, he indicated, is also working to keep the piracy file alive on international agenda and to advance the political process to achieve security and stability.
The UAE hosted the International Maritime Counter-Piracy Conference in April 2011 under the Agenda: Global Threat, Regional Reponses and will convene the second conference on 27 June 2012.
The UAE is current chair of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. Pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1851, the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) was established on January 14, 2009 to facilitate the discussion and coordination of actions among states and organisations to suppress piracy off the coast of Somalia.
This international forum has brought together more than 60 countries and international organisations all working towards the prevention of piracy off the Somali coast.
Maritime piracy is costing the world trade about US$ 11 billion a year.