London was yesterday the scenery of a very important event: a conference on Somalia, co-hosted by the UK and Somalia, and attended by fifty-four friends and partners of Somalia.
We met at a pivotal moment for Somalia. Last year Somalia’s eight-year transition ended and Somalia chose a new, more legitimate Parliament, President and Government.
Security is improving, as Somali and AMISOM forces, and their Ethiopian allies, recover towns and routes from Al Shabaab. The number of pirate attacks committed off the coast of Somalia has drastically reduced.
The EU has been a long-time partner to Somalia, with more than 1.2 billion euro being provided since 2008 to support the Somali people basic needs and improve the security of the country. We give a great deal of support to the security sector – including the AMISOM – that I will talk about later this morning.
In this complex landscape, we have also helped hundreds of thousand Somali people to get access to humanitarian aid but also to education, food, water and to protect the livestock. I’m pleased that the SHARE initiative which was launched last year in the Horn of Africa has helped to tackle the famine and to strengthen resilience in Somalia.
But this is obviously not enough. We must step up a gear to support the government towards a peaceful development of the Somali state, bringing prosperity to the Somali people in the long-term. Both security and political tracks must continue to be pursued energetically. The status quo is not stable or sustainable and it is clear that in Somalia, like anywhere else, there can be no development without security.
After yesterday’s meeting, we look forward to working with Somali and international partners to support the Somali people in the reconstruction of their country. And that is why we will keep this as a primary focus later this year, when the European Union will host a new Somalia Conference, when we will seek to enshrine support for Somalia’s overall reconstruction plan, entitled Transition Compact, to be endorsed then.