British Prime Minister David Cameron expressed solidarity with Somalia as he opened an international conference Tuesday in London focused on coordinating efforts to rebuild the country after decades of conflict.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Mr. Cameron, whose country is co-hosting the conference with the Somali government, says "hope is alive in Somalia."
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud says his country still faces challenges, including dealing with the militant group al-Shabab, but that Somalia looks forward to ending its dependence on the international community.
Britain says more than 50 countries and organizations were invited to the event, with a focus on Somalia's plans for developing its armed forces and addressing political issues, maritime security and the return of refugees.
It follows two international conferences held last year to support the country's move from a transitional government to a new parliament and elected president. Somalia had gone more than 20 years without stable central government, since the ousting of president Siad Barre in 1991.
African Union peacekeepers and militaries in the region have helped push al-Shabab out of major cities, but the militants have remained in control in areas of the south and still carry out sporadic attacks on the capital.
Britain opened a new embassy in Somalia last month. Turkey, Libya, Yemen and Iran also have embassies there.