Somalia

Foundation asks Koenders to help Somali children

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The Somali foundation Karti ("courage" in Somali) presented a petition to development minister Bert Koenders this morning, drawing attention to the effects of violence on Somali children.

The foundation has asked the Netherlands to form a coalition with other EU member states to promote nonviolence and personal safety in Somalia. Minister Koenders shares Karti's concerns about the humanitarian situation faced by Somali children, and also expressed concern for women in Somalia. Koenders promised to respond to the petition as soon as possible.

Southern and central Somalia are plagued by violence between the transitional government, supported by Ethiopia, and opponents of the government. Heavy fighting in March and April forced 400,000 people to flee the capital Mogadishu. In view of the instability of the humanitarian situation, the Netherlands raised its 2007 budget for Somalia to five million euros.