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Volume 600: debated on Tuesday 20 October 2015

As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced at the UN General Assembly last month, we are deploying up to 70 UK military personnel to assist the UN Support Office for AMISOM—the African Union Mission to Somalia.

Much of the rebuilding work in Somalia has been undertaken by Britain and led by the British Government. Will my right hon. Friend confirm that economic and infrastructure development in Somalia goes hand in hand with peace and security?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I was in Mogadishu in July and saw some of that work taking place. Britain’s influence there should not be underestimated. America has its embassy in Nairobi, and no other EU state has a presence in Somalia, so Britain is the only EU country with an embassy in Mogadishu. From there we give technical, logistical and planning assistance, which the Government there very much welcome.

May I pay tribute to the work of the African Union peacekeeping forces from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, who have lost more than 1,000 lives in returning Mogadishu and much of the rest of Somalia to a form of peace? What does the United Kingdom propose to do to continue to support these brave men and women?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The brave troops of the AMISOM command have been doing an incredible job, and I pay tribute to all the countries he mentioned for their involvement. When our military personnel turn up, they will be helping with engineering and logistical support. I have discussed that with our embassy and with UNSOA, the co-ordination force on the ground. It is absolutely right to pay tribute to the very brave work being done by all involved.