somalia:Weekly Press Conference on Government Progress

Mareeg.com-Mogadishu, 28 June 2014 – H.E. Mustafa Duhulow today spoke to the media in Mogadishu to provide an update on government progress over the last week. The Minister spoke on various issues: first European direct flight operator (Skygreece Airlines) in decades begins flights between various Europe cities and Mogadishu; Government plans to build new airport facilities in Dolwo district; the implementation of clean water and toilets projects in Afgoye district; illegal buildings destroyed in Mogadishu as part of the clean-up program; the Somali Cultural Festival; Somali Independence Day on 26th June; Somali Media Development and the month of Ramadan.

Somali Information Minister spoke on SkyGreece Airline flights: “On 22nd June SkyGreece Airlines, an international flight provider, started flights from European cities direct to Mogadishu. SkyGreece Airline brought over 200 Somalis Diaspora members from Stockholm on its inaugural flight. SkyGreece Airlines will provide huge opportunities for Somalis in the Diaspora to get direct flights to Somalia. This initiative will support the recovery of the Somali economy as well as linking current Europe and Somali flight schedules. SkyGreece is the third international airliners to operate in Somalia (Turkish Airlines and Uganda Air were operating in the country before) but this is the first European operator to offer flights to the capital. This clearly shows the progress being made towards peace and stability in Somalia.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the new airport facility implementation in Dolow: “Deputy Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation led a delegation including MPs and construction engineers on a visit to proposed airport in Dolow district, Gedo region to inspect the site. The construction of the airport will hugely help the movement of Somalis inside the country. The delegation was welcomed by representatives from Jubba Administration as well as Dolow district administration. The new airport will also help the recovery of Somali economy and it will create jobs for local people.”

The Minister of Information spoke on new clean water and toilets project: “On 24th June the Ministry of Water and Energy and the Banadir Regional Administration presented the plans of clean water and toilet projects that will be implemented in 28 villages in Afgoye district. The project will provide clean water and toilets to families in the area. The Government is committed to providing basic services to the people and these and other, similar projects will be brought to all regions of Somalia. These basic projects will contribute greatly to the overall plans to make a difference to the livelihoods of the people, which in turn will help progress in the country.”

The Minister of Information spoke on Somali Cultural Festival: “On 22nd June 2014 the Ministry of Information re-launched the Somali Cultural Festival in Mogadishu. 1500 citizens took-part in the event, while the many more people watched live via Somali TV and radio stations. This was a great moments for Somali history: the Somali Cultural Festival was a landmark and unique in the number of different forms of Somalia’s rich and vibrant culture being represented, ranging from music to dance, from poetry to drama, and even reaching back in time through a series of broadcasts from the archives of Radio Mogadishu. The Somali Cultural Festival represented ALL of Somalia, with artists from Baidoa, Beletweyne, Kismayo, Garowe, Hargeisa and elsewhere performing as well as those from Mogadishu. The aim of the Somali Cultural Festival was to bring old memories back and since the country is becoming peace and stable to counter terrorist’s narratives of violence and destruction.”

The Minister of Information spoke on 26 June Independency day for Northern part of Somalia: “The President of Somalia took part in an event to celebrate the 54th Anniversary of independency day, when the northern regions of Somalia got their independency from British colonial rule on 26 June 1960. The aim of the event was to remember the struggle of our great grandfathers, and the excitement of Somalis raising their own flag in Hargeisa for the first time. The regions of Somalia as well as Somalis in the Diaspora feel respect and solidarity to the struggle to get our independency and sovereignty. It is important for Somalis to look back on our rich history to a time when the people were united in support of independence. Now, sadly, in the 21st century we are fragmented society and we need to learn from our history and to bring our unity back.”

The Minister of Information spoke on the Media Development in Somalia: “I was very pleased to attend the Somali Media Support Group (SMSG) meeting on 26 June in Mogadishu, the first time it took place in Somalia. The SMSG consists of members of the donor community, UN agencies, Civil Society Organisations, and representatives from the European Union. The aim is to support the development of Somali Media. In the meeting I provided an update on the current situation in Somali Media, the progress the Ministry of Information is making such as devising a Comprehensive Communications Strategy for the Government, establishment of the Media & Strategic Communications Coordination Group that enhances the coordination between government institutions, the Media Law that is currently debated in the cabinet, reviving the Somali Pop Idol competition, and the re-launch of Somali Cultural Festival. The SMSG reiterated their commitment to supporting media development in Somalia.”

The Minister of Information concluded the press conference and spoke on the coming holy month of Ramadan: “First of all, I congratulate to all Somalis for Ramadan. The month of Ramadan gives us an opportunity that we should all take advantage of. We should pray more, we should come together to help each other and we should show through our actions the true, peaceful nature of our religion by promoting peace, stability, unity, respect, understanding and forgiveness. It is a time to reflect on our past and to look to a bright and shining future. Our religious leaders, intellectuals, and all segments of the society have a huge role to play in the month of Ramadan in bringing unity and prosperity back and in rejecting the extremist narratives of violence, intimidation, fear and destruction. We should all help out poor people so that they can get food aid.”

ENDS

Ministry of Information, Mogadishu, Somalia