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Today's Zaman

Davutoğlu starts East Africa tour to forge bilateral ties

14 November 2012, Wednesday /TODAY'S ZAMAN
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has started a tour of East African countries Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Eritrea in order to foster further relations as well as discuss problems adversely affecting peace and stability in the Horn of Africa with his counterparts.

The minister's tour of the four African nations will take place between Nov. 14-16, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Davutoğlu paid a working visit to the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Wednesday, where he was received by Somali Interior and National Security Minister Abdulkarim Husayn, Social Services Minister Meriem Kasım and other officials at Mogadishu International Airport. Davutoğlu met with Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed on the same day.  

In its statement, the ministry sent congratulations to Somalia on its establishment of a central government after more than two decades of civil war in the country. Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid declared a cabinet of ministers on Nov. 4.

Somalia has been mired in conflict for more than two decades after warlords overthrew the East African nation's longtime dictator in 1991 and then turned on one another. The government, backed by African Union troops, is currently battling extremist Islamist opposition forces linked to al-Qaeda.

The statement also noted Turkey's pledge to continue its contribution to improving living standards and establishing peace and stability in civil war-torn Somali.

Davutoğlu will attend a foreign ministerial meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday in Djibouti to discuss recent developments in Myanmar, where many Rohingya Muslim villages have come under attack by Buddhist mobs, forcing thousands to flee.

The OIC is working to have the situation of the Rohingya Muslims, a group exposed to deliberate and systematic violence in Myanmar, addressed by the UN Security Council.

A total of one million Muslims live in the Arakan province in Myanmar, near Bangladesh, the location of recently escalating violence in the country. The first signs of violence appeared in June after claims that three Rohingya Muslims had raped a Buddhist woman. Following the incident, fanatical Buddhists began killing Muslims living in the province of Arakan, burning houses and workplaces belonging to the minority group.

An estimated 9,000 Rohingyas took to land and sea routes in an attempt to escape the violence, adding to the approximately 70,000 internally displaced persons already in refugee camps prior to the recent attacks.

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