Members of the Council of Ministers and the Transitional Federal Parliament in Mogadishu
The Italian Diplomatic Delegation for Somalia in Nairobi circulated statement outlining the attitude and policy stance of the Italian Government towards the divisions of the Transitional Federal Institutions. The statement is based an interview which Senator Alfredo Mantica, Deputy Foreign Minister of Italy, gave to an Italian reporter of ANSA. In the statement, the Deputy Foreign Minister confirms his lobbying efforts in Washington (US), New York (UN), Bruxelles (EU) for the Italian Government’s strategy of supporting the Jowhar wing of the Transitional Federal Government. The statement quotes Senator Mantica to have said
- ‘The International community does not play just the role of observer, but is an actual protagonist. For this purpose the EU, the UN and USA share the Italian position, which reflects and supports the position of IGAD and African Union.’
- ‘The (notion of) TFG (Government) is outside the logic of warlords (ministers) and those among them in Mogadishu,’ who constitute an internal opposition (the Mogadishu wing of the TFG.
- ‘You (Italy and the Jowhar wing of the TFG) can not work with a Speaker and members of Parliament who joined the internal opposition.’
The statement of the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Government of Italy comes when the two wings of the TFG have agreed to meet and are engaged in delicate discussions of the agenda of the meeting and where and when to meet. The substance of the statement of Senator Mantica confirms Italy’s delusion that Italy and its representatives have special status in international deliberations on Somalia and in the internal Somali political discourse.
The Special Envoy of Italy to Somalia and Italian Government representatives in deliberations of the members of the community in Nairobi, EC and EU have consistently rejected the need for a coherent and unified international support to sustaining and completing the process of national reconciliation. Instead,
- Italy and its representatives have argued that the reconciliation process has been completed and campaigned and lobbied for the Jowhar wing.
- Italy provided logistic and material and financial support to the Jowhar wing.
- Italy funded the delivery of vehicles for the use of militia of the Jowhar wing.
- Italy provided funds for efforts to organize administration and install officials loyal to the Jowhar wing.
- Italy has used and continues to use its leverage in the EC and EU to release EU assistance to support and create a favourable political and diplomatic climate for the Jowhar wing.
- Italy successfully campaigned in cooperation with the Jowhar wing and Ethiopia and Yemen to undercut the international support for dialogue and reconciliation and the mediation efforts of the Special Representatives of the UN Secretary General.
Senator Mantica arrogantly claims international acknowledgement of Italy’s leading role and dismisses those Somalis who criticize his envoys intrusion into the internal Somali political disputes or reject any special status for Italy in international deliberations on Somali affairs.
In a blatant and naked attempt to discredit the Mogadishu wing of the TFG and undermine the tentative steps towards dialogue, the Deputy Foreign Minister promises the Jowhar wing that ‘by January 10, the ‘EU is expected to approve a document which will formalize EU (Italian) strategy and that similar developments are expected from the USA and the UN.’ The message to the Jowhar wing is clear ‘ hold out for total victory against the Mogadishu wing until January 10 and Italy will deliver.’
Finally, Senator Mantica betrays his whispering and ill-informed campaign in Bruxelles when he declares ‘Yes, there might be an alliance between the internal opposition (Mogadishu wing of the TFG) and Islamists to reject this Government and any Government.’ The evidence he cites is the regrettable desecration of the Italian cemetery in Mogadishu in January 2005 and the patriotic December 11 demonstration against the negative Italian role in the internal Somali political disputes. What the Senator fails to acknowledge is that Italian intelligence operators arranged to purchase the remains of the cemetery from the Islamists he now demonises and who will use the Italian funds for their next operation.
In the absence of a national reconciliation and the resolution of the disputes between the two wings of the TFG, Italian ‘assistance’ to the Jowhar wing of the TFG like the payments for the cemetery remains will be vulnerable to corruption and misuse. The members of the Transitional Federal Institutions in Mogadishu prefer dialogue and reconciliation among the Somali people to any Italian assistance. By their actions, Senator Mantica and his Special envoy in Nairobi have rejected the neutrality of the European Union and the mediation of the international community and in doing so have disqualify Italy as a friend of Somalia and a partner in the Somali reconciliation process.
The members of the TFG in Mogadishu are fully aware of the positions of the United States Government and the United Nations Security Council, both of which on record as supporting dialogue and reconciliation between the two wings of the TFG. As far as we know, the members of the European Union have also endorsed the position of the UN Security Council.
19 December 2004