Sabahi (Washington, DC)

16 September 2013

Somalia: European Union Pledges $868 Million for Somalia At New Deal Conference

International donors met Monday to approve a "New Deal" for Somalia, with the EU pledging another 650 million euros ($870 million) to help drive its ... ( Resource: EU Pledges $870 Million to Help Somalia

The European Union pledged an additional $868 million in aid to help drive economic and political recovery for Somalia during the "New Deal" conference for Somalia in Brussels, AFP reported.

Around 50 high-level delegations from Africa, Europe and the Arab Gulf attended the one-day meeting in Brussels, along with aid groups and global finance institutions.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the EU had already provided aid worth $1.6 billion and the new commitment showed it would "remain engaged" with Somalia as it lays the foundations for the future.

Somalia was regaining "its status as a fully-fledged member of the international community", Barroso said, adding that much still needed to be done, citing continuing security and human rights problems.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said he was "very grateful" for all the effort made on behalf of his country, highlighting four priorities among the many tasks ahead -- security, legal reform, public finances and economic recovery.

"Somalia has been given a great opportunity to move forward," he said.

Nonetheless, al-Shabaab militants have dismissed the conference as a waste of time.

"Conferences never really had any meaningful impact on the ground here in Somalia and this one will be no different. It's a waste of effort," al-Shabaab said via Twitter. "The billions promised will most likely be unpaid, the paltry sum given to the apostates will be lost in corruption & we're back to square 1."

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