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Somalia

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate her Department has made of the number of Somali people living in exile in (a) Ethiopia and (b) Kenya. (84950)

Estimates are difficult because both Kenya and Ethiopia have large indigenous Somali speaking populations and many unregistered Somali exiles in addition to registered refugees. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimates for Somali refugees in Kenya in 2005 were around 160,000, plus 30,000 to 50,000 unregistered, and in Ethiopia around 12,000, plus 15,000 to 40,000 unregistered.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions have been held with the Somali Transitional Government on recognition and diplomatic support; and if she will make a statement. (85005)

[holding answer 17 July 2006]: My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, met President Yusuf at the African Union Summit in Banjul on 1-2 July. With the rest of the international community we are engaging with the Transitional Federal institutions as the best process for restoring stability and good governance in Somalia.

The latest fighting in Mogadishu and more widely undermines efforts to restore peace and stability. We call on all parties immediately to end fighting and observe fully the ceasefire agreed between representatives of the Transitional Federal Government and the Islamic Courts in Khartoum on 22 June. We urge the Transitional Federal Government and the Islamic Courts’ Union to engage constructively in the next round of talks in Khartoum on 15 July.