Tobias Ellwood, Minister for the Middle East and Africa, and Mike Penning, Minister for the Armed Forces, co-hosted a Security Event in London on 7 September to help coordinate international peace-building efforts in Somalia. Participants included a range of Defence Ministers from across the world.
The UK has been at the forefront of efforts to improve security and stability in Somalia, and is the only European country to maintain an embassy there.
Speaking after the event, Mr Ellwood said:
When I visited Somalia last month I saw for myself that without security, the political progress made there may be lost. It is essential that Somalia’s security forces develop swiftly, work closely and effectively with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and start to take on greater responsibility for Somalia’s stability.
Key to this is a unified approach by the international community. Both security donors and troop contributors must be aligned to meet the huge challenge of security sector reform in Somalia. I am very pleased with the progress we made today alongside our international partners.
I would again like to pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of AMISOM troops who risk their lives every day to protect the people of Somalia from extremists. Until the Somali security forces are fully operational, their mission to continue liberating territory from al-Shabaab is crucial to peace and stability in Somalia.
Mr Penning said:
Today’s conference reiterates the UK’s commitment to Somalia. With our international partners we have worked tirelessly to improve the security situation and help provide the stability so necessary for the electoral process. All our soldiers have committed themselves selflessly in the quest for a better Somalia, with some from our international partners having paid the ultimate sacrifice. The unified approach we have demonstrated must now be matched with Somali commitment to rapid security sector reform and we stand ready to help with that process in the coming months.
It is only as part of a comprehensive international effort that we will defeat extremism and create the conditions for Somalia’s peace, and regional and international stability. That is why the UK maintains its commitment to better coordinated international effort and to our support to the Federal Government of Somalia, AMISOM and United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS).
Somalia has made significant progress since 2012 and the first London Conference and the UK is proud to have played its part.
This includes extensive support towards a secure Somalia, including the deployment of up to 70 British military personnel to support existing UN and African Union missions in the region as well as significant humanitarian and development support.
Notes to editors:
In attendance were the Defence Ministers and high level officials from Ethiopia, Kenya, Turkey, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America, the Director-General of EU Military Staff, and the UN Special Representative for Somalia.