President Yusuf of the Transitional Federal Republic of Somalia visited the UK as a guest of the Government. His programme included calls on my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development and my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham. He also called on the Foreign Affairs Committee and spoke at Chatham House.
The independence of Somaliland was not discussed in any detail when President Yusuf of the Transitional Federal Republic of Somalia met my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, on 22 February. We continue to encourage the Transitional Federal Government and institutions to discuss with the Somaliland authorities all issues of mutual interest.
We welcome the unanimous adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1744, sponsored by the UK, on 20 February 2007. It authorises the African Union (AU) Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as well as reiterating the need for reconciliation and a political process in Somalia and permitting support to the Transitional Federal Government and institutions to develop their own security sector. We commend the AU for establishing AMISOM and welcome the expected contributions from AU countries.
UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1725 has largely been overtaken by the adoption of UNSCR 1744 on 20 February 2007, following recent events in Somalia. Part of UNSCR 1725’s focus was on the Union of Islamic Courts which has ceased to exist as an entity. Another part of its focus was on a peacekeeping mission of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Somalia, which has now been replaced by the African Union Mission in Somalia.
My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, discussed the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) with President Yusuf of Somalia when they met on 22 February. They agreed the arrival of AMISOM would help the security situation in Somalia and allow Ethiopia to withdraw. Lord Triesman also welcomed President Yusuf’s earlier announcement of a National Reconciliation Congress, which will contribute to stabilising the political situation. The UK stands ready to assist this process.
Our embassy in Addis Ababa has been closely involved in discussions on the establishment of the African Union (AU) mission in Somalia (AMISOM) with our counterparts in the AU and other international partners also supporting AMISOM. In particular, they have stressed the importance of AMISOM replacing Ethiopian troops in order to avoid a security vacuum.
The embassy’s contribution is directed at encouraging potential troop contributing countries to commit troops, supporting the AU in developing detailed deployment plans and working with the AU’s other international partners, notably the EU, UN and the United States, to join in this effort in order to seize this historic opportunity to bring peace and stability to Somalia. UN Security Council Resolution 1744 of 20 February, which was sponsored by the UK, authorised the deployment of AMISOM.
We welcome the expected contributions to the African Union (AU) Mission in Somalia from Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Burundi and Malawi and hope further countries will also offer troops.
In addition to advisory support to the AU through our representation to the AU, based in our embassy in Addis Ababa, we are considering a significant financial contribution in this financial year to help fund the cost of the mission. We will consider further support as detailed plans for the mission develop.
Ethiopian troops have begun to withdraw from Somalia, in line with the Ethiopian Government’s stated intention. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, and UK Government officials have had discussions with representatives of Ethiopia, Somalia, the European Union and the United States. There is general agreement that Ethiopia needs to continue to withdraw as the African Union mission in Somalia deploys, to avoid a security vacuum in Somalia.