London Conference on Somalia opens today


23-February-2012

Among the invited guests will be representatives from the Seychelles government including President James Michel, Minister for Home Affairs, Environment, Transport and Energy, Joel Morgan and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam.
The Seychelles delegation are currently in the UK as guests of the UK Government, their trip coinciding with the London Conference on Somalia.

The conference aims to be a catalyst for more international engagement in Somalia and more effective Somali leadership, as well as encouraging a strategic and coherent approach that can help Somalis restore order to their country and protect it from pirates and terrorists.

In the Gulf of Aden, over 400 vessels have been attacked and over 100 hijacked by pirates in the last three years.
Tackling piracy is one of seven themes that will be presented at the conference and is an issue of particular interest for Seychelles.

Seychelles is a key partner in the international fight against piracy and has signed a memorandum of understanding with the UK to allow the transfer of suspected pirates from the Royal Navy to Seychelles for prosecution.

Speaking ahead of the conference British high commissioner Matthew Forbes, who is also in the UK, said:
“The presence of President Michel and ministers Morgan and Adam at this London Conference on Somalia is indicative of the strong relationship that exists between UK and Seychelles and indicates how seriously we take the issue of tackling piracy and the wider issue of Somalia.

“Being able to prosecute suspected pirates in the region we believe is a deterrent to what is effectively armed robbery on the high seas, and we’re grateful to Seychelles and our other international partners for their support and involvement.
“Ultimately, what we need is long-term solution to what is happening in Somalia and the London Conference on Somalia is a step in the right direction.”

The seven themes of the conference are:

• Security: sustainable funding for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and support for Somali security and justice sectors

• Political Process: agreement to what should succeed the transitional institutions in Mogadishu in August 2012 and the establishment of a Joint Financial Management Board

• Local Stability: a coordinated international package of support to Somalia’s regions

• Counter-terrorism: renewed commitment to tackle collectively the terrorist threat emanating from Somalia

• Piracy: breaking the piracy business model  

• Humanitarian: renewed commitment to tackling Somalia’s humanitarian crisis

• International coordination: agreement on improved international handling of Somalia issues.

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