14 January 2013

Somalia: UK Announces a New International Conference on Nation's Future

The office of the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, has announced that Britain is to host another international conference on the future of Somalia on May 7th. Then aim of the meeting is to build on the conference held in London in February last year, when international powers pledged to boost aid for Somalia to help fight Islamist militants and pirates.

A follow-up conference, attended by 54 countries, was held in Istanbul in June. The new conference is intended to help sustain international support for the progress being made by the Somali government. Representatives of some 50 governments and international organisations attended the first Somalia conference in London, including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

Somalia's Foreign Minister was in London last week, and Mr. Cameron's office said he had spoken with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Thursday last week and discussed the progress made against Al-Shabaab forces, as well as President Hassan's priorities in restoring stability in Somalia. Prime Minister Cameron said he would use the UK's Presidency of the G8 this year to reinforce further support for the efforts of the Somali government to build a strong, prosperous and democratic country.

The United Kingdom said last week that it would be working closely with both the African Union and Ethiopia during its G8 Presidency this year on a number of areas including Somalia as well as the New Alliance on Food Security and improving G8-AU co-ordination on peace and security matters.

Prime Minister Cameron has said the UK's Presidency of the G8 will focus on three ways in which the G8 can support the development of open economies, open governments and open societies to unleash the power of the private sector: advancing trade, ensuring tax compliance and promoting greater transparency. He noted that the UK intended to lead the battle against hunger with a special event on food and nutrition a few days before the main G8 meeting, to follow up on last year's Olympic Hunger Summit. He drew attention to the conditions that enable open economies and open societies to drive prosperity and growth: these, he identified as the rule of law, the absence of conflict and corruption, and the presence of property rights and strong institutions, adding that transparency and accountability were also vital to lay the foundations of long-term growth and prosperity.

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