Somali foreign minister thanks Malta for saving lives 'without any fanfare'

Foreign minister Abdu Salam says Somalia working to rebuild country devastated by civil war forcing citizens to flee the  'hopelessness' and 'poor economic prospects'

The foreign affairs minister for Somalia, Abdu Salam, thanked Malta for receiving "a human wave" and saving the lives of Somali people and other nationalities who are fleeing the human suffering.

"Malta, like Italy and the small island of Lampedusa, is receiving these people without any fanfare or political shouting. For this I thank you because these people are suffering from extremism and economic problems. We appreciate what you are doing," Salam told Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Muscat was participating in the 15th Doha Forum and Enriching the Middle East's Economic Future Conference during which he touched upon the European Union's energy policies and Malta's economic vision.

Salam said that Somali was recovering from a prolonged and disastrous civil war during which public and private institutions collapsed. He said his government was working tirelessly to rebuild them.

"It's like we're flying a plane and trying to fix it while at the same time we are running out of fuel and trying to land," he said, adding that high energy prices were crippling Somalia.

Salam said a sense of hopelessness and poor economic prospect was driving young people out of the country while the government was slowly trying to rebuild its infrastructure and attract investors to help them make use of the country's unused resources. The country was now in the process of reviewing its investment laws.

Fielding questions from the floor, Muscat said "the system was broke" and migration was not the problem of a country or a continent but it had become a global problem. "History has shown that the global community comes together after a disaster ... I do hope that different souls come together before we witness a huge humanitarian crisis," he said.

Before being appointed minister in January, Salam served as governor of Somalia’s central bank. In September 2013 he quit the central bank after a UN report linked him to irregularities regarding millions of dollars withdrawn from the central bank. He has denied all allegations.

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