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Volume 615: debated on Tuesday 18 October 2016

5. What recent assessment he has made of the security situation in Somalia; and if he will make a statement. (906641)

I visited Mogadishu in August and was pleased to see that after decades of civil war and transitional governance, Somalia is now making significant and remarkable progress. However, security and governance need to improve, and al-Shabaab is far from defeated.

The Foreign Office deserves great credit for making us the only EU country to reopen its embassy in Mogadishu, as announced in the Anglo-Somali summit in February 2012 at Lancaster House. Does the Minister agree that now that al-Shabaab has been pushed out of Mogadishu and other cities such as Kismayo and Baidoa, it is essential that local government structures are built up so that communities can be properly represented? What is the Foreign Office doing to help that?

First, I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for organising, as former Africa Minister, the very conference that he mentioned on Somalia in 2012, which helped to galvanise international support for Somalia. He is absolutely right. We need to work on the governance structures, and a federated model has come to the fore. We need to support the AMISOM troops as well. There is much work to be done. Although al-Shabaab has been pushed out of the capital cities, it is still in the south of the country.

While considering the security situation in Somalia, how does the Minister assess the role of Ethiopa, and what impact is the continued detention of British citizen Andy Tsege having on our relations with the Ethiopian regime?

I am aware of the state of emergency that Ethiopia has introduced, and I will certainly look at the consular case that the hon. Gentleman raises and perhaps write to him with more details. However, I would pass on congratulations to Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and the other countries that are providing forces and making an important contribution to the support and stability of Somalia.