Ahead of hosting an international conference on Somalia this Thursday, the Prime Minister is meeting members of the Somali diaspora community to hear their views about their homeland and how the international community can best help the country to tackle its problems.
Representatives from Somaliland, Mogadishu, Puntland, the minority clans in South Central Somalia and diaspora from Kenya and Tanzania will all attend the meeting.
The Prime Minister wants to gather their ideas on how the Government can best support the Somali UK diasporas to contribute the technical and political support needed on the ground and how we can all work together to secure a long term settlement in the Horn of Africa.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, the Prime Minister said:
For two decades the problems in Somalia have been dismissed as simply too difficult and too remote to deal with. That fatalism has failed Somalia. And it’s failed Britain too. The threat to our national security is growing. Young British minds are being poisoned by radicalism. Pirates are disrupting vital trade routes and kidnapping tourists and aid workers. The Shabaab control a third of the country. Famine and instability in Somalia are spreading instability across the wider region.
The problems in Somalia can only ultimately be solved by the people of Somalia. But our national interest is clear: we can’t just sit back and let all this carry on. Nor do I think the people of Britain want us to. When there was a famine in the Horn of Africa, no one gave more than the British people. That makes me proud to be British. But it’s not enough just to give aid. Unless we can help the people of Somalia build a stable future, these problems will keep reoccurring. I’m convinced that the international community can help create a breakthrough. That’s why I will bring together 50 countries and international organisations in London this week.
And on the role of the Somali diaspora, the Prime Minister said:
No one cares more about Somalia than its people. And there are many Somalis who have made their home in this country who will have a particular interest in what we are doing this week. We can’t build peace without them. My message is this: don’t go back and fight. Help Somalis and help your homeland by doing all you can to back the political process, to build the rule of law and to continue to support the development of the economy. That’s what we want to do this week. To turn your commitment to a better Somalia into a better future for us all.
The Government aims to agree concrete outcomes from the summit, focused on practical measures in seven key areas to help make Somalia and the region more stable and secure:
- Political Process: shape a stable political future for Somalis by agreeing a form of government that will succeed the transitional government in August 2012, and will represent Somalia’s sub-national regions.
- Security: expand the remit of the African Union’s peacekeeping mission, AMISOM, and put its funding on a sustainable footing.
- Terrorism: strengthen international resolve to tackle the terrorist threat emanating from Somalia.
- Piracy: forge new international agreements to destroy the pirate business model and detain convicted pirates.
- Stability: agree international funding for an international support package for Somalia’s regions, and set up mechanisms to stamp out corruption.
- Humanitarian: secure renewed commitment to tackling the humanitarian crisis and a commitment to support building up resilience to crisis.
- International coordination: agree on a new process to maintain the pressure and support for change.