Italian ambassador and special delegate to Somalia Andrea Mazzella praised recent progress in Somalia and pledged Italy's continued support for the country in an interview with UN-funded Radio Bar-Kulan published Friday (October 19th).
Monday, October 22, 2012
"We think that the selection of the new parliament in Somalia and not abroad and the election of the new president, speaker and now also the appointment of the prime minister, who has obtained the confidence vote of the parliament, represent a real turning point in Somali history…," Mazzella said.
Mazzella said that to support the Somali government, Italy has paid the salaries of 3,200 Somali soldiers through the Italian African Peace Facility and the African Union Mission in Somalia. Italy also pledged to give the United Nations Political Office for Somalia $15 million for improvements to infrastructure, health and sanitation, he said.
Mazzella emphasised Italy's commitment to civilian initiatives, saying that military efforts alone are not enough to create peace in Somalia.
Italy will prioritise strengthening the central Somali government to maintain Somalia's unity, he said. "This is our main point or policy. The preservation of the unity of the Somali federal state is an essential principle if we truly want to turn the page and leave Somalia's past instability behind us."