Hon. Désirée Bonis, Member of the Dutch House of Representatives for the Labour party and spokesperson for Foreign Affairs was yesterday elected as new Chair of the AWEPA Section in the Dutch Parliament. She succeeds former Member of Parliament Kathleen Ferrier, who has been involved with AWEPA for the past few years putting great effort into strengthening the Section in the Dutch parliament.
The Association of European Parliamentarians with Africa (AWEPA) works in close cooperation with African parliaments to strengthen the process of democracy in Africa, to keep Africa high on the political agenda in Europe and to promote the African-European dialogue.
Immediately after her appointment Hon. Bonis stepped into her new role and chaired a meeting in the Dutch Parliament with the Dutch AWEPA Section, Somali Diaspora organisations and a number of experts on the new political situation in Somalia. There is reason for cautious optimism about this country in the Horn of Africa, which has been torn apart by civil war for more than twenty years. Recently Somalia has democratically elected a new federal parliament, president and a central government. Therefore the hope of permanent peace and reconstruction has increased.
The keynote speaker of the meeting Mr. Peter de Clercq, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) spoke about the new situation caused by the end of the transition period and the completion of the Somali “Road Map”. The more permanent political institutions must now take their responsibility for national security and stability in the country. In that light the UN Security Council will also revise the role of the international peacekeeping force AMISOM.
Dr. Scholten, AWEPA Founding President and Political Coordinator for Somalia, noted that AWEPA has an important reconstruction programme in Somalia which includes capacity building of the federal parliament in Mogadishu. This programme is made possible through financial support from the Netherlands and the European Commission.