Mohamed Abdi Hayir, Somali Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, yesterday visited the National Media Council (NMC), to discuss avenues for cooperation between the council and media institutions in Somalia.
The meeting was attended by NMC's Director-General Ibrahim Al Abed, Jamal Nasser Al Suwaider, WAM's Executive Director, and Muna Mohamed, Advisor to the Somali Prime Minister.
During the meeting, the delegation was briefed on the council's work mechanisms and discussed ways to strengthen media cooperation between the UAE and Somalia, as part of the Somali government's efforts to promote and disseminate accurate and official news items internationally.
Speaking about the current situation in his country, the Minister said that the situation there is semi-stable and that Somalia has seen progress in its quest to reform, and that it is gaining more control vis-a-vis the threat of instability on account of the terrorist organisation, Al Shabab.
"Somalia is improving and we are overcoming two of our major challenges, including state reform, through building government and financial institutions," he said.
Regarding terrorism, the Somali Information Minister said that the government has had many victories against Al Shabab, and that the future outlook in the Horn African country is hopeful, but added that there are major concerns surrounding the volatile situation in neighbouring Yemen, and the potential for the group to re-gain power through support from fanatics there.
"Al Shabab is very weak at the moment, unless they get some support from Yemen, and network through the Yemen crisis. That is our fear," he said.
The minister also added that more and more fighters are turning themselves in daily as part of the Somali government's amnesty offer to Al Shabab fighters.
"Al Shabab has lost its credibility, and are now very weak," he said.
The minister went on to say that a number of Al Shabab leaders have joined the government side, including many key officials.
"Many of their leaders have begun to surrender and return to the legitimacy. Five high-ranking officials have surrendered in the last three months, including financial and regional officials, which is a very positive sign," said Hayir.