By The Global Journal | February 23, 2012 - 17:17 GMT
The UK is hosting today (23 February) the London Conference on Somalia.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, suggested the official meeting could be a turning point for Somalia’s history. Forty governments and international organisations have gathered to reflect upon the measures required to tackle the problems presently affecting the war-torn country. UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki —moon, and US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, are among the attendees. Representatives from the African Union (AU), the European Union, the World Bank and the League of Arab States are also present. Agenda topics include security, counter-terrorism, piracy and the need for international coordination among relevant actors.
The participation of Somalia’s political leaders - including representatives from the Transitional Federal Government, and the Presidents of Somaliland, Puntland, Galmudug and Ahlu Sunnah wal Jamaah - has been considered critical to the chances of the meeting producing tangible outcomes.
During his opening speech, Cameron highlighted three necessary measures to put an end to the current crisis. These included the need to rebuild security through the AU peacekeeping operation, to increase humanitarian aid and development support, and to establish a truly representative government.
The Prime Minister also revealed the UK would fund an anti-piracy regional centre for intelligence coordination in the Seychelles, and would eventually support the creation of an international taskforce on ransoms. According to Cameron, this would "set the ultimate ambition of stopping these payments because in the end they only ensure that crime pays."
The Prime Minister also emphasized the need for a new peace deal to effectively tackle piracy and terrorism. This would "ensure that people from across Somalia have a voice in how their country is run."During his separate speech, Ban Ki-moon expressed serious concern about the future of Somalia and urged the international community to react to the current humanitarian crisis harming the civilian population. "We have no more time to wait and see" he declared. (Photo © British Foreign & Commonwealth Office)
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