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Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the situation in Somalia. (139062)

The UK strongly condemns the violence from all sides in Somalia. We welcome the recent pause in the fighting and hope it can result in a permanent cease-fire and a lasting stability, which is what the overwhelming majority of Somalis want more than anything else. For this to happen, the Transitional Federal Government needs to ensure that the National Reconciliation Congress planned for mid June reaches out effectively to include all Somalis, regardless of clan, who credibly renounce violence and who are willing to work for a peaceful and democratic Somalia in which all clans are fairly represented.

We are very concerned at the humanitarian situation in and around Mogadishu. We believe that more than 1,500 people have been killed and perhaps another 400,000 displaced since early January. Cholera is widespread and the plight of children is particularly grave due to increasing rates of malnutrition and disease. The Government have committed £3.54 million in emergency humanitarian relief since late February.