Wednesday, May 08, 2013
UK Prime Minister David Cameron warned on Tuesday that failure to
support the rebuilding of Somalia would lead to "terrorism and mass
migration", as he opened an international conference aimed at helping to
end more than 20 years of conflict.
Representatives of more than
50 countries and organisations attended the London meeting, which is
co-hosted by Mr Cameron and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
meeting is aimed at boosting political stability in the impoverished
African country, which has had no effective government since 1991. It is
also expected to pledge action on rape, which the United Nations (UN)
says is "pervasive" in Somalia.
Mr Cameron praised improvements in
Somalia’s security in recent months, but warned that huge challenges
remained in preventing it from sliding back into abject lawlessness.
anyone who says this isn’t a priority or we can’t afford to deal with
it, I would say that is what we’ve said in the past and look where it
has got us — terrorism and mass migration," he said.
challenges are not just issues for Somalia. They matter to Britain — and
to the whole international community. Why? Because when young minds are
poisoned by radicalism and they go on to export terrorism and
extremism, the security of the whole world is at stake."
has raised eyebrows by inviting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who
faces an international trial for crimes against humanity, to the
A UK government source said the invitation counted as
"essential contact" with Mr Kenyatta, who goes on trial at the
International Criminal Court in July.
Downing Street said Kenya
played a "vital" role in Somalia, because it has nearly 5,000 troops
there and it hosts more Somali refugees than any other nation.
The UN, African Union and International Monetary Fund are among the organisations attending the conference.
has been battered by conflict since 1991 but a new UN-backed government
took power in September, ending more than a decade of transitional
Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants were driven out of the
Somali capital Mogadishu by African troops in August 2011, but the
Islamists have carried out brutal attacks in recent months.
dozen people were killed in the city on Sunday when a suicide bomber
rammed a car full of explosives into a government convoy carrying
officials from Qatar.
Despite the unrest, Somalia appears to be slowly turning a corner, with businesses reporting growth in activity.
UK last month became the first European Union country to reopen an
embassy there since the conflict broke out, while the UN Security
Council set up a special mission to Somalia last week that will bring in
up to 200 security, human rights, political and financial experts to
work with the fledgling government.
Mr Mohamud urged the
international community to pour investment into Somalia, saying his
government’s progress over the last year had defied sceptics.
are here today to begin a four-year process that must begin with
considerable investment and support, but which I hope will finish with
very little," he told the conference.
"My vision is for a federal
Somalia at peace with itself and its neighbours and which poses no
threat … a Somalia with a resurgent economy."
Mr Mohamud’s government remains weak, and large parts of Somalia are still carved up between rival militias.
Campaigners Human Rights Watch say rape by soldiers and gunmen is an "enormous problem" in Somalia.
The UK and the United Arab Emirates last month pledged £1m each to help tackle sexual violence.
than a million Somalis are refugees in surrounding countries and
another million are displaced inside their homeland, often living in