Somalia

Remarks by High Representative/Vice President Catherine Ashton at the International Conference on Somalia

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London, 23 February 2012 The European Union is here to support the people of Somalia in their efforts to build a stable political future, to develop their economy and to be able to live in security under the rule of law.

The EU set out its comprehensive approach in its Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa last November and the EU Special Representative to the region Alex Rondos is playing an active role of coordination, focusing primarily on Somalia.

We have been putting our words into action through a range of interventions:
The EU has saved lives through humanitarian effort to tackle famine and disease.
We are also heavily engaged in supporting security. The EU is a major donor of AMISOM, the African Union peacekeeping mission, and I am glad to announce today that we will support AMISOM's crucial work with a further €100 million. The new funding will support the proposed increase in troop strength agreed by UN Security Council Resolution 2036(2012) adopted on Wednesday 22 February. This is a substantial effort, but it will only cover part of the needs, so we call on the international community to step up their assistance.

Through Operation Atalanta (EUNAVFOR) we have successfully contained pirate attacks and secured the delivery of aid. But we are also looking at ways to support the build-up of maritime capacity in the countries of the region, to allow them to better control their coasts and seas. We are aiming at bringing pirates to justice through prisoner transfers, and through tackling the source of piracy on land, by imposing rule of law.

Outside support is essential. But our core objective is to help Somalis bring law, stability, peace and development to their own country:

We are contributing to establish Somalia's own effective security forces: the EU Training Mission, based in Uganda, already trained 1,800 troops, and through UN, EU has funded training of 7,000 Somali police.

Secondly, it is key to put in place a new constitution and a stable, accountable political structure that all Somalis will accept. The EU supports the Djibouti process to end the transition in August this year, and the Garowe principles for what will come after. But it is essential if our material support is to continue for the political progress to speed up.

Finally, government efforts must focus on development. EU development aid to Somalia is already improving education, labour market and the rule of law in all parts of Somalia.

In the last 5 years, the EU contributed over €1 billion to Somalia. We are willing to continue to support the Somali people on their path to a better future