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Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on August 10 said he would visit famine-hit Somalia along with his family in the coming days as part of an effort to draw international attention to the East African country’s plight. Visits by world leaders to Somalia are extremely rare due to the extreme security risks, but Erdogan was undeterred. “It is impossible for us to be spectators to the human tragedy in Africa,” Erdogan said. “My foreign minister and I will visit Somalia with our families. So, we will get a chance to see the situation there,” Erdogan told a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara.
The last leader to visit Somalia was Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in November last year. His army contributes more than half of a 9,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force propping up the government. But no one from outside Africa has been for a very long time. Istanbul will host a meeting on Aug. 17 of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference aimed at galvanising support for Somalia and drought-struck neighbouring regions.