Somalia conference finds funds for stability | News | DW | 07.05.2013
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Somalia conference finds funds for stability

The European Union has pledged 44 million euros ($58 million) toward building Somalia's justice system and police force. Delegates gathered in London Tuesday for a conference on the east African nation.

With the pledge, the EU has given more than 1.2 billion euros of aid to Somalia since 2008.

"In Somalia, like anywhere else, there can be no development without security," EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said in a statement. "We are granting this new assistance to show once again the EU's commitment to helping the Somali people to support good governance, security, justice and the police."

The conference has gathered representatives of almost 50 countries, as well as international organizations. The British Foreign Office announced that the aim was to coordinate support for the country's institutions, reducing the risk of any slide back into lawlessness.

'Piracy stranglehold'

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, pictured above, called for support, and tied the country's security to that of the region and the "removal of the piracy stranglehold" on the Gulf of Aden.

"It will be a Somali-owned solution that will fix Somalia, but no country has ever recovered from such social and economic collapse without the help of the world," he said. "And so, in partnership with our endeavors, we respectfully ask for your total and unflinching commitment, partnership and support."

British Prime Minister David Cameron, left in photo, also pledged financial aid to combat piracy along shipping routes.

"I am pleased that Britain will commit 10 million pounds ($15.5 million, 12 million euros) to help develop Somalia's armed forces and 14.5 million pounds to double the number of police officers and train judges and lawyers," Cameron said.

"Britain will also support the new maritime strategy enabling full radio connection all along the entire coastline for the first time in 20 years," he added.

The militants problem

Somalia has been wracked by internal conflict since 1991, but a new UN-backed administration that took power in September is regarded as at least a partial success.

Still, militants continue to launch attacks. The latest, killing 11 people, came on Sunday when a suicide attacker rammed a car filled with explosives into a government convoy.

Cameron branded the attacks "tragic and despicable" and a reminder of why the conference was necessary. The first round of such talks took place in February.

mkg/ccp (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)