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Somalia: Politics and Government

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the assurances of the Transitional Federal Government that a planned Reconciliation Congress in Somalia will be fully inclusive, regardless of clan loyalty. (143219)

Lasting security in Somalia will only be possible with a credible political reconciliation process. We believe that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is the only body that can bring stability across Somalia, as envisaged by the Transitional Federal Charter. But we strongly believe it must be more inclusive and develop a broad base of clan acceptance if it is to succeed. Therefore, we have repeatedly stressed to the TFG that it should reach out to all Somalis who reject violence, regardless of clan and that the National Reconciliation Congress, now scheduled to start in mid July, represents an excellent opportunity to do this. My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, made this point in person to President Yusuf when he visited the UK in February and to the Somali Foreign Minister on 7 June. The meeting of the International Contact Group in London on 6 June sent the same strong message to the TFG through the Somali Foreign Minister. We will continue to work for this.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she is taking to further a cessation of violence by fundamentalist Islamic militias loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia; and what discussions the UK has held with the International Contact Group on the establishment of peace and stable government in Somalia. (143221)

We do not believe the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) still exists as a coherent political entity. A meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG), hosted by the Government in London on 5 and 6 June, strongly condemned actions of extremists and terrorists and those looking to undermine the political and reconciliation process. The ICG called on the international community to do everything it could to prevent further acts of violence. We fully support these views.

At the same time, the ICG has publicly stressed the need for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to do all it can to make the National Reconciliation Congress as inclusive as possible so that there will be a broad clan-based acceptance of the TFG. We believe that this offers the best long-term way to increase political participation and stable government, as well as to reduce the scope for violence.