Leaders from 21 Arab League member states met in Sweimeh on the Dead Sea coast in Jordan for the annual summit amid multiple challenges in the region including war and drought. The League called for unity to counter “foreign interference” in regional wars that devastate parts of Syria, Yemen and Iraq as the group met on Wednesday.
The Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo told the group of Arab leaders that terrorism was the biggest threat to Somali stability.
“Somalia faces many challenges, including recurrent droughts and famine, and most atrocious of all, terrorism. “
“Terror attacks that cause unimaginable loss of lives and destruction of property is the biggest affront to progress, stability in Somalia.” The President went on to say that “Terrorism is a fast growing tumor in almost all continents. Unfortunately, Somalia had endured it longer than the rest.”
Somalia is currently battling Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group that has vowed to fight the federal government and African Union (AU) troops for control of Somalia. The Al-Qaeda allied group has been pushed out of most major towns formerly in its control but has been able to launch attacks against checkpoints, hotels and other targets with regularity.
President Farmajo also used the stage to raise awareness for the drastic humanitarian crises facing Somalia, as the worsening drought is threatening to plunge the country into a famine – it’s third in a quarter century.
“More than 3M women, children and elderly people face enormous risks, if immediate support is not extended to them.”
Farmajo attributed the droughts and deaths to a number of factors including climate change and dried rivers.
“The recurring droughts is as a result of climate change, failed rains, and dried rivers that has caused famine and the easy spread of deadly diseases.” He added that “The drought situation in Somalia has caused the death of millions of livestock, thus diminishing our strongest economic mainstay.”
According to the FAO, Somalia exports roughly 5.3 million animals per year, making the export of live animals to Gulf nations Somalia’s leading foreign exchange earner.
President Farmajo said that for Somalia to overcome it’s challenges it needs to have realistic plans and “unyielding support from our brothers and friends (in the Arab League)”.
The annual Arab League summit was capped by a reaffirmation by Arab leaders to rally behind a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. amid unease over the stance of US President Donald Trump.