South African President, Jacob Zuma, has expressed his country’s commitment to supporting the alarming humanitarian situation in Somalia and other states in the Horn of Africa.
President Zuma said his country was committed to seeking long lasting peace in Somalia and will do all it can to alleviate the debilitating famine, while seeking solutions to the conflict in that country.
Speaking during a warm meeting with former Ghanaian President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings at the Presidency in Pretoria on Friday, President Zuma expressed his gratitude to the Ghanaian statesman for the role he was playing in creating awareness not only on the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa region but in seeking lasting solutions to the 20-year-old Somalia conflict.
The South African President confirmed his participation at the African Union organised Pledging Conference on August 25 aimed at bring together governments, the international donor community, Corporate Africa and international relief organisations, with the aim to create one strong African voice on alleviating the devastating famine situation in the Horn of Africa.
Earlier President Rawlings, who is the AU High Representative for Somalia and the Face of the Humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa briefed President Zuma about the severity of the famine in the region and called for support and leadership from South Africa in alleviating the famine and helping to resolve the conflict in Somalia.
President Rawlings said he was impressed by the efforts the donor community in South Africa with the support of the government had been making in airlifting tonnes of relief aid to Somalia in particular. He also called on President Zuma to encourage more private sector contribution to the humanitarian situation in the affected region.
President Rawlings who was in South Africa for a three-day visit at the invitation of President Zuma also held meetings with the Chairperson of the African National Congress (ANC), Baleka Mbete and General Secretary, Gwede Mantashe.
President Rawlings also addressed a forum on Somalia, organised by the Institute of Global Dialogue and the Africa Forum under the auspices of the University of South Africa in Pretoria.
The AU High Representative also had the opportunity to confer with the Pan African Parliament during which he briefed members led by Chad’s Iddris Ndele Moussa on the situation in the Horn of Africa and raised pertinent issues on seeking an African solution to an African problem.
The Pan African Parliament is the legislative body of the African Union and exercises, oversight, advisory and consultative powers over the continental body. It is headquartered in Midrand, South Africa.
President Rawlings has since left South Africa for Brazzaville, Congo where he is due to brief President Dennis Sassou Nguesso on the upcoming pledging conference. He is due to also meet Angola’s Eduardo dos Santos in Luanda before heading for Addis Ababa for the August 25 Pledging Conference.