This week politicians and thinkers from all corners of the globe have been assembling in London for a conference to try to plot a way forward for a country beset by dangers. Famine, war, piracy and a terrorist insurgency have all combined to make Somalia and even its capital, Mogadishu, practically ungovernable.
Last year, saw a new temporary government installed under the noted economist Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, who was tasked with making the state governable again. His tenure is due to end in August. He joins Sir David Frost ahead of the conference to talk about the international help he thinks Somalia needs now.
“The expectations of Somalis on this conference is very high. Somalia is changing, Somalia is taking a different direction. Somalia is moving from the era of warlordism, poverty, lawlessness, chaos, violence and religious extremism. And we are moving to an era of peace, tranquility and statehood. So, therefore, we expect this conference to galvanise the international support for Somalia, to galvanise international support for the peace process.”
With a $170bn (€130bn) bailout deal agreed on Tuesday, this week has seen a historic moment in European negotiations. But just how many more historic moments will there have to be before financial stability in the eurozone is secured? Among European officials and ministers there was a huge sigh of relief this week: Greece has, for the moment, been taken off the critical list. But it comes at a price and many are asking if it is worth it.
Sir David is joined by Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg and the current head of the Euro Group, who tells him:
“If Greece is implementing all the measures we are asking Greece to implement, measures they agreed upon, Greece will restore … its competitiveness.”
Relations between the US and Pakistan remain under huge strain following a US air strike last November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The US expressed regret for the deaths but it has not said sorry. Pakistan has closed its supply routes to NATO troops in Afghanistan as a result. Yet, ironically, the two countries need each other’s help more than ever as the US seeks a way out of Afghanistan.
Sir David talks to Hina Rabbani Khar, the Pakistani foreign minister, about this issue and others, including her government’s political negotiations with the Taliban, the growing economic alliance with Iran and working with India towards greater stability in South Asia.
She tells Sir David why she believes relations with the US will improve:
“It will improve because what this relationship has lacked more than anything else is two important things. One is transparency, the other is credibility. We are trying to make this relationship achieve both of these basic, fundamental principles which are required for us to pursue a track of partnership and cooperation which is sustainable, which is not accident-prone.
“As you know the terms of engagement are being reviewed and this review process is ongoing in the Pakistani parliament as we speak …. Now when this review process takes place and parliament gives this relationship its ownership and defines the contours within which this relationship ought to operate, I feel that we will be much more effective partners.”
The uprising in Syria has entered its eleventh month – this week seeing scores of civilians killed and foreign journalists also paying the ultimate price. With Syria teetering on the brink of a civil war and calls growing louder for an intervention, the spotlight is now on the international community. But as former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan is appointed UN-Arab League envoy to Syria and leaders meet in Tunisia for the ‘Friends of Syria’ conference, will they actually be able to implement any measures as long as Bashar al-Assad continues to hang on, even in a state of chaos.
Mark Malloch Brown, a former deputy UN secretary general, joins Sir David to explain why he believes the focus must still be on diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire.
“The rebels are still heavily outnumbered and out-equipped and out-trained by the regular army in Syria and that to supply the rebels with arms would be further provocation to the government forces and further excuse to crackdown even harder.”