31 January 2013

Somalia: European Union Pledges to Increase Support for Somalia

European Union leaders on Wednesday (January 30th) promised to institute an economic and political support programme for Somalia during Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's visit to Brussels, the first stop on his EU tour, AFP reported.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced that the European Union would host a global conference in the autumn to "come up with a New Deal for Somalia that will help deliver political, security and development support".

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said that all parties have agreed to enhance EU-Somali relations. "We believe there is a real commitment to go forward," he said.

The EU has contributed 600 million euros ($814 million) to Somalia over the last five years as part of a three-pronged approach of defence, diplomacy and development.

Mohamud said his nation needs greater support to move from being a country "in relief" to one in recovery. "Everything is zero, everything has to be started from scratch," he said. "And we cannot do it alone."

Mohamud is scheduled to meet with the EU's 27 foreign ministers on Thursday before departing for London.

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