The humanitarian situation in Somalia is primarily the product of 16 years of failed governance and is the prime responsibility of individuals in Somalia.
We are very concerned that, as the UN has reported, about 400,000 people have been displaced and more than 1,000 may have been killed. The UK is particularly concerned about obstacles to access for humanitarian workers wanting to give help to those who most need it. We have raised this in international forums such as the EU, the UN and the International Contact Group on Somalia, which met most recently in London on 5 and 6 June, and we have made our views very clear.
The UK was the Second largest humanitarian donor in Somalia in 2006. Since January, we have committed a further £6.3 million over and above our pre-budgeted funding to seek to help those worst affected by the fighting and the ongoing humanitarian needs.
The UK condemns the recent violence from whichever quarter it comes. We believe the Ethiopians should leave as soon as is practicable. They have told us they want to do so. But for them to leave before an effective alternative security force is in place would risk leaving a dangerous security vacuum and worsening the humanitarian situation still further.
The UK strongly supports the process of national reconciliation in Somalia. This process is a pre-requisite for lasting security in Somalia. 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 it must be more inclusive and develop a broad base of clan acceptance if it is to succeed in this.
We believe the TFG should reach out to all Somalis who reject violence, regardless of clan, and that the National Reconciliation Congress (NRC), 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 in London 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 and are calling on all groups in Somali society to reject violence and to work together for national reconciliation.
The UK is providing financial support for the NRC, both bilaterally (over £250,000 for the initial stage) and through the EU.
The UK has had frequent contact with both the Government of Ethiopia and the Transitional Federal Government on the situation in Somalia, particularly on security and on humanitarian issues.