Home » President Sheikh meets PM Meloni as Somalia turns to Italy

President Sheikh meets PM Meloni as Somalia turns to Italy

Meloni Sheikh
Diplomatic, academic, scientific and economic cooperation are the offerings of Rome’s new push in the MENA area. Meanwhile, Mogadishu is looking north, betting on economic growth for stabilisation. A tale of converging interest, built on longstanding ties, and opportunities – that the Somali Head of State will discuss at the Med-Or Foundation

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud meets the Italian gov’t. On Wednesday, the Somali head of State travelled to Rome and shook hands with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President Sergio Mattarella, as well as Foreign and Defence Ministers Antonio Tajani and Guido Crosetto.

  • “I confirmed Italy’s support for Somalia’s institutional, economic and security framework, regional integration processes and the fight against terrorism. The commitment in the Horn of Africa is a priority of our international action,” tweeted PM Meloni.
  • On his part, President Sheikh Mohamud thanked the Italian officials for the “warm hospitality” during what he called a “crucial” State visit. “As one of our reliable allies, Somalia and Italy can accomplish more together for the mutual benefit of our two nations and peoples,” he tweeted.

Through Somalia’s lens. “The consolidation of pacification and national revival in Somalia is, first of all, in the interest of our people, but secondly also of the EU,” President Sheikh told Repubblica. “Large and uncontrolled migratory flows take the most dynamic human resources away from the countries of departure and at the same time create problems for the countries of arrival. It follows that economic and social development in Somalia, as in the whole of Africa, is an essential part of an international balance to which everyone must contribute […] We therefore expect Italy and the EU to help us with programmes to build essential infrastructure and create jobs in Somalia.”

Bridging Mogadishu and Rome. In the Repubblica interview, the Somali president also spoke of the centuries-old cultural interchange and “relationship of friendship and cooperation” between Italy and Somalia that prompted him to nominate a special envoy to Italy “to explore all issues of common interest,” Professor Ali Abukar Hayo.

  • “The scientific knowledge of young Somalis can be improved with the Italian contribution and act as a driving force for our development,” he added. “For this reason, I met with the Luiss University of Rome and the Med-Or Foundation.”
  • On Friday, President Sheikh will be the guest speaker at a debate organised by the Med-Or Foundation, which will also be attended by Ministers Tajani, Crosetto and Matteo Piantedosi (Interior).

Rome’s looking south. The meeting was part of a broadening Italian diplomatic effort across the MENA area – or as Italy calls it, the Enlarged Mediterranean. PM Meloni and her government are intent on creating chances for shared development through what she calls the Mattei Plan, which encompasses energy, defence, training and cooperation, including economic interchange.

  • On Monday, PM Meloni and President Mattarella also met with Ethiopian President Abyi Ahmed with the same underlying, strategic push to strengthen mutually-advantageous relations (she plans to visit Addis Ababa in the coming weeks).
  • On Tuesday, the PM spoke over the phone with Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman to discuss bilateral relations and opportunities for joint cooperation. Meanwhile, Minister Crosetto was in the United Arab Emirates for a series of meetings and defence-related talks.
  • Recent institutional trips also touched AlgeriaLibya (where energy ties with Italy have just been consolidated through an €8 billion deal), Turkey and Tunisia.

The experts’ takes. As Arturo Varvelli, director of the Rome office of the Ecfr, recently recalled, that deep southern front should be the shore for the EU and Italy on which to adjust strategic elements – such as reshoring and near-shoring productive processes – in the face of the new dynamics of globalisation affecting Rome as much as Brussels.

  • In the face of this complexity of changes, Italy “seeks to strengthen relations with privileged interlocutors, even by exploiting historical relationships,” explained Umberto Profazio, associate fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Study in London and the Nato Defense College Foundation, to our sister website. “Now these contacts will have to turn into facts, into policies and decisions that the government will take.”

Image: Twitter profile of PM Meloni

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