Why a stable Somalia is in our interests

As the first British Ambassador to Somalia for twenty years, people often ask me why we should get involved with Somalia at all: haven’t we got enough to worry about?

Somalia has an unenviable record as a failed state. Its twenty-year civil war has brought lawlessness and chaos at a massive human cost: one million Somalis are believed to have died; another 750,000 Somalis are currently seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. Last year alone, as the effects of drought, conflict and famine took hold across southern Somalia, it is estimated that between 50,000 and 100,000 people died; half of that number were probably children.

Somalia’s lawlessness is also breeding new threats. Large parts of the country are controlled by a group of extremists and criminals known as Al Shabaab – an organisation that only a few weeks ago publicly declared its relationship with Al Qaeda. Its leadership encourage fighters and sympathisers from around the world to use Somalia as a base for terrorism. The bombings that claimed the lives of 74 people in Kampala in July 2010 were planned and executed in Somalia.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia continues to pose a threat to international shipping: in the first half of 2011 more than 154 ships were attacked, with 21 hijacked and a total of 362 people taken hostage [1]. Piracy is costing an eye-watering amount. The One Earth Foundation estimates that in 2010 alone the costs of Somali piracy to the global economy ranged between $7billion and $12 billion.

And the costs keep mounting. A recent report by the Center for American Progress suggests that the international community has collectively spent just over $55 billion responding to Somalia since the civil war erupted in 1991 [2]. As the authors of this report recognise, the costs of such failed states ‘are immense and long-lasting’, encompassing more than just security concerns – failed states, such as Somalia, can make regional instability more likely and they can make it harder for business to invest in neighbouring states.

A more stable Somalia is therefore essential. We cannot afford to ignore the human suffering or the threats posed by Somalia’s instability to Somalis, to East Africa, or to the UK. We therefore have common cause in helping Somalia back from the brink. It’s for these reasons that Somalia matters.

‘But why now?’ many ask.

It’s because, despite all this suffering, there are glimmers of hope. There are opportunities to help Somalis put their country onto a more stable path. Now, before it’s too late.

Thanks to the extraordinary bravery of African Union and Somali troops, the city of Mogadishu, a once beautiful, now bullet hole-ridden city, has been recovered from Al Shabaab. I’ve seen for myself the renewed confidence in Mogadishu – streets bustling with people, shops open, and homes being rebuilt. A city torn apart by two decades of war is slowly beginning to recover – thanks to greater security and the leadership of people like Mohamed Nur, the Mayor of Mogadishu.

Al Shabaab is also under pressure, thanks to African troops and ongoing counter-terrorist operation. And for the first time in several years the threat of piracy is being reduced, as the naval task forces, of which the British Navy is a key part, arrest and detain pirates intent on taking ships and seafarers hostage.

Politically, there is also a real opportunity to help support a broader, more inclusive political process when the mandate of the Transitional Federal Institutions expires in August. Somalia’s government is committed to ensuring progress, as are Somalia’s regional leaders.

These opportunities need to be grasped to help the Somali people rebuild their lives, by strengthening their security, by tackling the shared threats of terrorism and piracy, by supporting communities become more resilient to drought and famine, by helping to make sure that as many Somalis as possible have a stake in their country’s political future. This is the best chance in a generation to help support a Somalia where the basic needs of the Somali people can be met, and where Somalia’s children can have a brighter future.

Clearly Somalia’s challenges won’t be solved overnight – we all realise that.  But we also realise that Somalia is no longer a ‘regional’ issue; it’s a global one. We also realise that these challenges can only be addressed by working together with Somalia’s leaders, the United Nations and the African Union.

It’s for these reasons that, on 23 February, the Prime Minister will host a meeting of over 50 countries and international organisations from across Africa, the Gulf, Europe and North America, including the UN, the African Union and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation – all with a single purpose: to galvanise international support and agree a new international strategy to help turn round Somalia.

We hope the London Conference can mark the beginning of a renewed international commitment to work together and support a country and its people that have suffered enough.  Greater security in Somalia means greater security for the Somali people so they can rebuild their lives; it means greater security for the region, meaning businesses can invest more because Somalia no longer poses an international threat; it means greater security for us.

This shared interest is our national interest.

That’s ‘Why’.



[1] Piracy News and Figures, available at http://www.icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre/piracynewsafigures.

[2] Norris and Bruton, “Twenty Years of Collapse and Counting: The Cost of Failure in Somalia”, Center for American Progress, Sept 2011

 

37 Responses

  1. Wish you all the success in the Conference.

    My organization is envolved in the NGO base in development aid project (vocational education) in Sool and Cayn areas. Therefore I hope that the SSC areas are notified in the Conference as having independent voice and not only that of Somaliland´s speakers. Have visited Las-anod and the surrounding areas in 2004 and thought that the country has a lot of potential.
    Jaana Löppönen, Managing Director, Horisontti Team Ry/Association

    • Ahmed Osman says:

      I wish to congratulate all of you, definitively, Somaliland needs certain development aspects by helping the private sector to contribute the fight against the piracy by turning them arsenal fishermen and trying the proliferation of piracy in Somaliland territorial waters.

      We have spent 1,000,000 USD for the rehabilitation of Berbera Cold Storage facility under the auspices of Italian investors, we have markets in Japan, China and Middle East. We need your embassy to turn your embassy into practical realities to all Mr. Camaron’s comments or words in London conference that they will help both somalia and Somaliland. So far nothing has been done, and the clock counts in every minute and second and waiting what you might help the Somali fishermen who are very eager to gain fishing gear, full operations blast freezers in coastal towns, processing plants & technical assistance, etc . I think even if the British government borrow the money, the Somalis are generous and will repay it, so let us see something concrete as like the Turkish Government.

  2. Mohamed.Awais says:

    Extract from Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piracy_in_Somalia#cite_note-AMHOA-6

    “A United Nations report and several news sources have suggested that piracy off the coast of Somalia is caused in part by illegal fishing.[6][7] According to the DIW and the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, the dumping of toxic waste in Somali waters by foreign vessels has also severely constrained the ability of local fishermen to earn a living and forced many to turn to piracy instead.[5][8] Other articles allege that 70 percent of the local coastal communities “strongly support the piracy as a form of national defense of the country’s territorial waters”, and that the pirates believe they are protecting their fishing grounds and exacting justice and compensation for the marine resources stolen.[9][10][11] Some reports have suggested that, in the absence of an effective national coast guard following the outbreak of the civil war and the subsequent disintegration of the Armed Forces, local fishermen formed organized groups in order to protect their waters. This motivation is reflected in the names taken on by some of the pirate networks, such as the National Volunteer Coast Guard.[12] However, as piracy has become substantially more lucrative in recent years, other reports have suggested that financial gain is now the primary motive for the pirates.[13][14][15]”

    In addition, Ould-Abdallah told the press that he approached several international NGOs, such as Global Witness, to trace the illicit fishing and waste-dumping. He added that he believes the toxic waste dumping is “a disaster off the Somali coast, a disaster (for) the Somali environment, the Somali population”, and that what he terms “this illegal fishing, illegal dumping of waste” helps fuel the civil war in Somalia since the illegal foreign fishermen pay off corrupt local officials or warlords for protection or to secure counterfeit licenses.[109]
    Ould-Abdallah noted that piracy will not prevent waste dumping:
    “I am convinced there is dumping of solid waste, chemicals and probably nuclear (waste)…. There is no government (control) and there are few people with high moral ground[...] The intentions of these pirates are not concerned with protecting their environment. What is ultimately needed is a functioning, effective government that will get its act together and take control of its affairs.” —Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy for Somalia[110]

    These are the crimes that have been committed against the Somali people:
    1. Toxic waste dumping, causing illness that have never been encountered before.
    2. Toxic waste of chemicals and radioactive nuclear waste.
    3. These toxic waste not only damaged the human health but also damaged the environment
    4. Illegal fishing coastal fishing which fished the area virtually to death resulting in no fish left for the Somali Communities in the area or anyone else for that matter. This has gone on for years without checks or balances by the International Community. These are crimes against humanity and can not and would not be tolerated at any part of the world but was left unchecked for many years in Somalia.

    Therefore we and the International Community must acknowledge the root cause of Piracy and why we are where we are today.

    Therefore the truth must be said; yes Piracy caused a huge financial loss to International Economies however we must also acknowledge the Somali suffering. This included local economies & markets drying up due to lack of fish, the devastation of toxic waste destroying beautiful part of god creation that belongs to a people heritage (people of Somalia) for many years as early as 1990’s.

    If International Community are honest broker and want to solve Somali problem then they must take urgent actions to protect the environment, coast lines from illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping.

    If necessary fine those vessels that are spotted doing suspicious actives within Somali Water and give the money to Somali Administrations ie in Puntland or Gulmudg or Federal Government to rehabilitate known pirates and rejuvenate the area with job creation.

    For sure as you have acknowledged in your blog the long term solution is not for international warships to pursue pirates into Somali territorial waters but the formation of stable, capable government that is able to govern, protect its borders from terrorist, it territorial waters from illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping. I salute and welcome the British initiative to solve the Somali problem we welcome it with open arms and I am sure many Somalis are ready to work with Great Britain to solving the Somali issue once and for all. Therefore let’s work together in solving the Somali issues. “Together we are United” and “United We Can Stand, Divided We Fall”

    • If one is not an international player, most information will second or third hands. I agree with Muhammad’s analysis, but the real culprits are the Somalis themselves. They kept on fighting and splintering till they lost control of their territory. The international system is not humane. One should not rip open one’s bowels because there are surgeons without borders willing to stitch you up.

  3. Mohammed says:

    As a somali I greatly appreciate the UK’s sudden interest in Somalia. The world is different place than it used to be just a decade ago. Event in one part of the world have great effect on another corner of the globe.

    I do not intent to plead you to do this and that for Somalia. As a noteworthy member of the international community , and as a financial backer of the Somali government I hope that you get ” your bang for your buck” sort of speak.

    Demand transparency in the Somali government. Do not give away money for the sake of giving money, demand to get results . Everyone should agree on clearly set benchmarks.

    I also hope the training of the Somali army and intell-agencies is given a priority. We can not expect our african brothers to bear the burden of the military campaign against Al Qa’da in East Africa.

    Despite 20 odd years of conflict the Somali people are still hopefull. I hope the participants of the conference honor that hope.

    Best wishes
    Mohammed , Norway

  4. Shaaban says:

    Thank you ambassador matt baugh for the noble initiative taken by uk’s goverment in restoring stability and normalcy to the failed state of somalia, majority of somalis where ever they are do firmly support every possible measures aimed at correcting the somalia’s problems as long it doesnt infringe the interests &sovereignity of somalia. Let the international community assist to establish a goverment guided by tenets of democracy, rule of law with robust constitutional institutions that will do the implementation role .the public should be educated to establish civil society org that will act as a watchdog. A watertight political system best suited to hold together homogenic society with deep rooted beliefs in ethnicity, tribe and clan issues has to be digged out even if its putting the country into unitary centralised goverment with non autonomous federal states. Conflict of interests of clans, regions or goverments that participate in the conference should not be allowed to penetrate into the conference , a proper watertight system should be put in place to guard off such threats. A u.n resolution should be sought after the conference to re-affirm full i.c commitment to somalia’s crisis.

  5. It’s all great & excellent news of reducing piracy within the Gulf of Aden,in addition Indian ocean. The international community knows our water are dumping site of all waste types and illegal fishing is an activities taken for granted. There will be a new film released on Somalia & its titled: ” The truth about Somali” by the Chinese. The route courses of this criminal activity must be addressed, before ” Uk government” finds solution.

  6. Ahmed Isse says:

    Thank you Ambassador Matt Baugh, I too hope the newly formed Khatumo State and SSC areas are notified in the Conference as an independent voice and not be represented by Somaliland.

  7. Saeed Warsame says:

    Wish you best luck and success for the Somali meeting. you have really made concerted effort to convene this conference. The international community and Somali people have high hopes that this gathering would succeed and I hope so.

    Is there any way we can be in touch with the development of the meeting live or kind of get periodical update? to comment on it.

  8. Herse-owl Ahmed Nur Hire says:

    Hi Matt!
    As you said many ask you why now rather than later, it’s too late and steal no were near to found common solution and solve the problem. However are they willing to compromise and put behind the difference and go forward, I don’t think so. Before you and your country solve or found a solution onto Ogadenia there will be no peace in the horn of Africa. Because of Ogadenia and ogaden people will keep up their fighting with the Ethiopian troops and the border crossing making even more difficult as it is. And Ogaden people sever even more because of Mad Mullad (Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan), but that was more than century ago. My question is why British government and their politician forget that problem cause by Sayid Mohamed A. Hassan and not punish for his people. We are Ogaden people have no participating the process because of Ethiopia and Kenya. But I would like to ask you if there is climb of hope to solve and make Ogadenia independent country? In my point of view of the British government to make a country again and make a peace in the horn of Africa is because of geopolitical and the spring Arab rising and euro zone economic crises, Somalia its scapegoat. Help us and Help ogadenian children whom saver more than their fellow somalian children saver.
    Herse-owl Ahmed

  9. Ridwan says:

    But why now? Why not 2006 when the islamic courts took control?why did the west use ethiopians to destroy our people’s effort and hopes?why didnt britain take that chance ?why not when the famine was worst and our pain terrible?why now,why why why?

  10. Gabadh rer Boorama Awdal says:

    Dear Britian.
    You have colonised Somalia before, stolen our resources and killed our people. you did not stop there, you have exploited our tribal differences. Your divide and rule policy is the reason why my country is a failed state today. you supported the tribes whom where not aware of your motives and the many reasons why you came to Africa. after independence you armed SNM againest our dictator who was much better than the failed state. now we are back to square one. we had to come back to you today in England and ask you to solve the puzzle you gave us. now you are the king of my country and we all have to bow down to you. i cannot say good luck with the conference today because it just is another form of colonialism. but i say to my self may be it is better that the European colonialism gets what it wants and may be my people will stop fighing each other and may be our children will be starved to death while the world watches. I can applaud you as you have won the war of 50 years againest Somalia. it is a Somali tradition to congratulate your enemy if they had won over you.

    • Sal ibn Hari says:

      What a hateful view you hold Gabadh rer Boorama Awdal.

      I don’t suppose you’d be living in Britain, taking off the State, giving little back whilst helping with their commerce by buying Qat out of one of many high street outlets we now have since you lot came here.

      You have a very negative view and I suggest you bone up on your history so that you can get your facts right,

    • It is painful for one to confess being a pawn in the scheme of others. Africans need a change in mindset to survive. Is it not puzzling how African adults may be on the path leading to destruction, yet cannot apply breaks to stop their slide downhill?

      • Azteka says:

        I would like to tell the international cnmmuoity that somalia is under ethiopian occupation with the backing of the united states, however we the somali people are intent on resisting this illegal invasion on our country, note that the useless united nations has failed to punish ethiopia for illegally invading somlia and breaking the most sacred law of the UN, the will of a nation.We had eight months of peace under the Islamic government of somalia, which has been driven and uprooted by ethiopian dictator meles zenewi, and replaced by a coalition of warlords that have named themselves the TFG of somalia.The TFG has no support from the somali people whatsoever, and the TFG has proven to the somali people that they are nothing but puppets of ethiopia that serve the interest of the dictator of ethiopia rather than the somalia people.The international cnmmuoity should force ethiopia to respect the UN nations first charter and completely withdraw its military from somalia without any conditions.We hope that the international cnmmuoity can understand that no peace in somalia of the Horn of africa shall take place until ethiopia goes back to her boundaries and we the somali people will not tolerate the TFG warlord rule.If that means that several million of us have to die in that process that by God we are ready to sacrifice our freedom and right for self determination.George Bush and the neoconservative government have brought nothing but death and suffering to many peoples around the world, in fact they have become the terrorist they sought to fight, they have backed dictators such as the ethiopian dictator meles and have supported the repression of real democracy movements in ethiopia and somalia.I hope that the international cnmmuoity can wake up and realise the mistakes the Bush regime is committing not just in iraq and the middle east but also in africa.The invasion of somalia by dictator meles zenewi with US backing and financial and political support was extremely wrong and illegal and has resulted of the toppling of the somali government known as the Union of courts and has opened the way of the return of the hated warlords back to power in somalia.Am sure that the international cnmmuoity knows very well about the genocide that has taken place in sudan, but does the international comminty know the genocide that has taken place in somalia, that has been committed by the ethiopian military and warlords on somai

  11. Abdiqani says:

    After 24 hrs will see what the outcome be……
    So let me see if I understood you correctly …. the conference is about the wealthy and influential world telling Somali leaders what will happen to their country in the weeks to come…. demolishing Piracy and Alshabab because not alone they pose threat to Somalis but now the world is suffering also (including UK) and I guess also is something to do with all those Somalis that are now living in Europe (You must be fed up with them) … Hmmmm … I wonder only if anything will be put to practice .. you see somalis are people who were fighting for more than 20 years and i guess they are far from doing that at the moment ….
    I only agree with one thing though … Peace and development is good .. good for Developed world trade … good for the stopping immigration … good for tackling religious fanatics…. and also it is good to have business in that country now that they have oil recently been found..
    Enjoy Somalia

  12. Prince Hassan says:

    Thank you Ambassador Matt, for clarifying once more the reason of UKs involvement in Somalia.
    Many Somalis inside and outside of Somalia have followed the frequent information and discussions held before the conference just as now is exact 24 hours before the London Conference on Somalia will begin.
    Most of the Somali people understand the past and what was going on in their homelands for the past 20 years that is not the issue.

    The issue is when the Somali people see now the London conference as simultaniously taking place as new Ethiopian and kenyan invasion is ongoing in their country. On the other hand the TFG shortcomings of the so called Graowe 2 Road map and a new clan domination afresh in Somalia. The biggest reason of what went wrong in 1990s was a clan domination or individuals taking the entire countrys assets in their own hand.
    Most of the Somali people see persons in the present TFG and more on Abdurahman Faroole of Puntland as corrupt leader and if anyone will try to force the Somalis to accept them, that will failiure.
    If the the UK organised conference turns to come with more inclusive solution for the Somali people it will succeed.

    Remember that Somalis does need anymore hostage takers, they have been hostages for a quarter of century and that is enough. I think that you can see that people are more getting wait and see position right now, rathar than writting more on facebook and twitter like they did for few weeks ago?.
    If the International community does want to fail once more, please do not make us hostage for Afriacn dictators and selfish clan supporter or a corrupt leaders. make the Somalis happy Friday the 24th of February. Thanks

  13. Mohamed says:

    Your excellency, I salute you and your government for mobilsing the international community once more to devote more of their attention and resources to help the Somali people who suffered greatly in the past 20 years. This conference and British initiative will certainly improve the situation which is currently at its lowest ebb. I am equally ashamed as a Somali myself to read some of the comments posted here by some mindless people who do not somehow grasp the enormity of the situation and the task ahead.I believe that it is high time that all those who care about the welfare of the Somali race to contribute positively to this noble initiative. Well done and I wish you every success

  14. amadeos-qoriyoley says:

    Yes, I do wish you success in your en devour, However I am kind amused to see that you invited only those who are responsible in the death of Somali people, nation and the future welfare. Peace is a good sounding word but what you mean is to eradicate one side that is fighting. You have already shown bias by choosing the enemies of Somalia such as: Ethiopia(with its Ahlul- Sunnah militia, its proxy rulers in PuntLand) this group simply represent Marihaan, Majertain and Habar Gidir. Kenya alias: Ogaden, Marihaan Clans Militia and TFG who represent the US/Museveni interests: Abgal, Majertain, Abargidir clan militia. GAlMUDUG: Habar Gidir clans:

    Funny enough these clans represents the vulture that tore Somali Nation apart by using all means including selling themselves to our enemies.
    Having Peace should involve the other side warring parties: THE ISLAMIST.
    The adventure in Somalia is to get rid of Islamic form of rule. It will not be as easy to wipe out the Islamist from Somalia. They might be dormant for a while but the will rise again because under them at least the following is impossible: RAPE;KILLINGS; ROBBERIES; UNJUST OCCUPATION BY THE ABOVE CLANS: If the British are capable of ending unjust treatment of the voiceless Somali then we will see it as success but if that fails. The
    voiceless will have no alternative but to seek the Islamist to save them again. After all Alshabab sponsors took advantage of the vacuum justice. So I am hoping you succeed but also make sure the Darood, Hawiye are caged in their own land. Make sure Kenya do not take over Kismayu by installing a Minority Ogaden clan in Kismayu. Get rid of fishing trawlers that steal somali resources and ask Western Companies from dumping poison in Somali Shores. I hope you are honest brookers

    • asha says:

      u r tribalist and i think u should keep quite. look at how arrogent u are . u are talking abou the thing that destroyed our country and made it in its current status. i really feel sorry for you and besides you are posting it on internationa websites with ur inetrnal difference. i feel really sorry for . but please learn how to diplomatic in your language before you post ur disgusting comment.tribes tribes tribes…. what did we get at the end of the day. and what do u get from by complaining to the Uk goverment . shame on you.

  15. Mohamed Ursad says:

    Thank u mr Matt and thank u for interested for Somali stability for u country but I tell u don’t ignore the thru and understand the reality and Somalia never be like before what ever u spend today and tommorrow until somaliland get international recognized and they know how they build Somalia stability and u will see it

  16. asha says:

    what a joke, so boasting African forces is gonna bring peace there. if th UK government is seriouse about all it claims, why not talk about building somali national force?.why do we need foreing forces while the money spent there can be given to somali men who will defend his country and have a linving with that coins?.
    to my view which i think will prove it self in a matter of a year if not months , is just to weeken the power of the somali leaders , increase the number of political players and put our country into more missery.seriously this is alarming to anyone who has patriotic mind.preiviously we use to see world lords,religious groups, government enetities and puntland , somaliland and the likes as key players in our political reconcilations, in the future , we expect amison, kenyan forces , ethiopian forces having a asay in somali affairs.its sad reality really..BUT what Allah planed is in better place. Man process God opposes. somaali ilaahay bey leedahay .

  17. Pieter Smit says:

    Al Qaeda-fighters, under Godane, are now leaving Shabaab and Somalia, see report of Somali ambassador to Yemen. Shabaab’s national groups have recently adopted a strictly national agenda, see (http://www.somaliareport.com/index.php/post/2212)

    Shabaab-national (roughly those groups, away from Kismayo, under Robow and Aways) now no longer hosts international terrorists, nor aspires to support it. In case of fair elections they might actually still turn out the biggest party: many Bantu’s and small clans see them as their only protection, and large parts of the business community would likely fund their campaign (and moderate their policies).

    What is needed now is a face saving entente, led by Turkey / Qatar / UK, not a military offensive against an enemy that no longer exist. No solution without them, and with an entente, they are an asset in expanding security and in curbing abuse, peace-spoiling by ex-warlords.

    See Alex de Waal in New York Times ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/22/opinion/getting-somalia-right-this-time.html ), and http://somaliareport.com/index.php/post/2745/Can_the_US_Negotiate_Somalia_to_Peace.

    Pieter Smit. (I worked off and on in Somalia since 1980′s. Shabaab internationalistas killed five of my collegues, I interviewed hundreds of Shabaab-supporters. I worked only outside TFG territory.)

  18. Charles Sherlock says:

    I hope you have a good conference.

    I should like to see the conference affirm freedom to practice the Christian faith or any other minority faith, in any part of Somaliland or of Somalia, and also freedom for all Somalis, male and female, to adopt or renounce a faith without fear of retribution

    I hope that these fundamental freedoms will be made a precondition for recognition of or provision of any further economic assistance to any regional or national authority anywhere in Somaliland or Somalia.

    • Mohamed.Awais says:

      Charles, I am glad your not a PM or President of any civilised western nation because there should be no pre-conditions when you help another nation specially on faith and religious grounds. Somalia is 100% Muslim nation and will always be. There is no crusade on Somalia to turn it into a Christian nation.. So there is no need to have those conditions you mentioned on your post.

      Somalis are at least UNITED on that :) “Together we are United” and “United We Can Stand, Divided We Fall”

      • Charles Sherlock says:

        I am also glad I am not a PM or a President of anywhere.
        Somalis are not 100% Muslim; there are a few Christians and indeed some Somalis who have no faith, both inside Somaliland and Somalia, and in the diaspora.
        In future, I would like to see it possible for Somali Muslims to worship freely in the UK and in Ireland, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, indeed everywhere in the world. And I would like to be free to worship as a Christian, with Somali Christian friends in Mogadishu, Hargeisa or Kisimayu, just as I did in the 1980s.
        I would hope for the support of both Muslim and Christian Somalis in this aspiration for freedom of religion among Somalis and their friends.

        • Mohamed.Awais says:

          Hi Charles,
          Of course you and others have the right to worship any religion including Christianity. The choice of worship neither is a Political nor is based on pre-conditions. Therefore this post you wrote earlier saying there should be pre-conditions is what I disagreed with however the right to worship your religion is personal matter and should be respected as such.
          On the other hand though may I remind you Somalia is Islamic State, ie majority of the populace want Islamic Sharia. Hence the governance will be based on Islamic rules. You may not find trade of Alcohol and other non Islamic trades openly in public. That being said it would not be that much different though if you chose to live in Middle East. Same Islamic rules will apply in Somalia.

  19. Shaaban says:

    Now that the london conference on somalia has come to an end, with the international community firm commitment to support somalia to regain stability, these follow somalis oriented quest towards attainment of a lasting solution to the problems facing their one time buetiful country. Its now clear in my mind that the days are numbered of those self centred wealthy somalis who advance personal interests at the expense of the greater interests of somalia, with support of international community its time for the somalis to have a way to problems facing their country.

  20. Muna Abdi says:

    I’ll tell you why Britain is acting now after 2 decades….Just as the title states, its not in YOUR interest…. The past 22 years has seen our nation crumble, our people suffer and our livelihood diminish… I was born in at the start of the war, and it’s all i’ve ever known. The problems started long before Al-Shabab, but it is only now that there is the possibility of danger on your doorstep that you choose to wake up to what’s happening… I’m sick of the British government presenting themselves as heros going to ‘save’ Somalia… This is not a moral endeavour, it’s an economic expedition!… If you really wanted to help you had 2 decades worth of opportunities… The unfortunate reality is that we as a country are now on our knees and you have the power to help us stand… false generosity or not… you’re all we have… it’s just a shame that it took Al- Shabbab and piracy to make u see our suffering.

  21. Mohamed.Awais says:

    First of all let me take this opportunity to thank British Government, PM Cameron and FM William Hague and the rest of British Government for hosting a great conference on Somalia.

    Point 1:

    All initiatives are exactly what the Somali people including Diaspora were expecting.

    I need however more clarity on the following. In specific point 6 of the Political process:

    6. The Conference recognised the need for the international community to support any dialogue that Somaliland and the TFG or its replacement may agree to establish in order to clarify their future relations.

    Question I have is, was there any dialogue between Somaliland, Puntland and TFG government (since all were present and were setting on negotiating table) on how best they should go forth in negotiating and developing a way to work together to establish a coherent, stable and unified Somalia Government that represent all regions including Somaliland after August 2012.

    If they had a dialog today did they agree also on further dialog/discussion in the near future to achieve the above objectives? This is what ALL Somalis are asking and wanting to find out if any concrete objectives were meet by the two sides.

    Point 6 above indicates some level of agreement and understanding was achieved however what that is, is unknown since the political discussion of the conference was Private!! Communiqué didn’t go into detail what agreement and understand was reached between Somaliland and TFG government?

    Point 2:
    Also unseen at the live feed we had at the summit probably discussed after live feed ended. In Security, rumors say it, PM Cameron’s and National Security Council has examined plans drawn up by the Ministry of Defense to escalate British involvement in the conflict. Undisclosed sources say: “No decisions have been made but among options are sending the aircraft carrier Ocean, a ‘mix of helicopters’, which could include the Apaches that took on Colonel Gaddafi’s forces in Libya, and ‘boots on the ground’ possibly SAS”
    Somali people welcome this and we encourage the increase heightened activities by Great Britian to take on Al-Shabab with support of regional countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya to swiftly end the conflict and restore stability to Al-Shabab controlled areas in the South. In return giving control to those areas AMISOM and Somalia National Forces. Possibly turning British forces including AMISOM to training capacity to bring Somali National Force the capabilities to take control of its own territories. Also I hope as President of Djibouti was saying in his opening speech, serious consideration including funding was agreed to put a side for the training and strengthening of Somali National Army. This was not covered in detail in the Communiqué released. We also need to know if a deadline was agreed for withdrawal of AMISOM forces from Somalia and handing over Security and Military control to Somali National Army after their training has ended.
    Please clarify the above two points. Overall great conference and if we can turn the plans agreed upon this conference into actions, then Somalia will have the jump start it urgently and eagerly needed to get back to International fold.
    Thanks for the opportunity and hosting such important conference on Somalia at great important juncture in Somali history “Together we are United” and “United We Can Stand, Divided We Fall”

    • Sukhjeet says:

      Yusef, You hit the nail on the coffin there People must enudrstand the elitism of US and other Western alliances don’t give a damn about the situations of other peoples desperations, as long as their capitalistic ventures are making record profits.The Western minorities lust for money and power will always decieve global politics for their own individualistic gains but hey isen’t that the foundation of a modern competition oriontated western society.This is one of the main reasons why this world is in such a mess.Yusef, I wish you and all the somalian people luck in ousting this US backed TFG puppit government because to the empire, oil trumps blood just as much as profit trumps people.

  22. Mohamed.Awais says:

    This is a concerning comment in the communiqué:
    Point 5: “We agreed that the Transitional Federal Institutions’ mandate ends in August
    2012. There must be no further extensions. We welcomed the agreements that chart the way towards more representative government: the Transitional Federal Charter, the Djibouti Agreement, the Kampala Accord, and the Roadmap. We welcomed the progress represented by the Garowe Principles, endorsed the priority of convening a Constituent Assembly, and emphasised that the Assembly must be representative of the views of the Somali people of all regions and constituencies, and that women must be part of the political process. In line with Garowe II, we agreed to incentivise progress and act against spoilers to the peace process, and that we would consider proposals in this regard before the Istanbul Conference in June.”

    Although I understand why this has found it self in the communiqué, I guess it seems Britain had no other options but to adopt Somali initiative agreed upon weeks ago before the London Conference in Garowe, Puntland Somalia or NOT?

    The Garowe II agreement outlined power-sharing to be based on 4.5 failed political formula. Of course everybody knows this, including Great Britain and International Community and we Somalis were hoping this wouldn’t be adapted. However it looks like it has been, my only question is Great Britain and International Community willing to take another political gamble on Somalia by adapting a failed political formula known as 4.5 CLAN-POLITICAL formula. I am sure people know we have tried this formula for power-sharing for the last 14 peace initiatives and every time it has failed. It is as if we are doomed to always make the same mistakes over and over again, specially now a heightened time for Somalia when so much is at stake including the stability and formation of credible Somalia State. I would have hoped common sense would have prevailed and Great Britain questioned on the view of this political process.

    This of course now raises the possibility of another failed Somali Political process? Which is not What Somalis want, neither what Great Britain nor International Community wants based on what we have witnesses from London Conference today.

    I am normally not a pessimistic but reading the Communiqué again I realised the devastating consequences of adopting these corrupt initiative drawn up by the corrupt TFG government. I guess I can expect that from TFG but to agree upon this as way forward after London Conference is not something I expected from International Community, with all due respect fully understand why though.

    Although I would have liked to not close the door on this matter even though the Communiqué says at the end of this point: “We agreed to incentivise progress and act against spoilers to the peace process” I initially thought on new political process but if the process agreed on Garowe is the mandate process then we are in trouble to say the least. Also if this statement of spoilers is referring too people who don’t want 4.5 CLAN-POLITICAL formula then that rules out Somaliland as they have transcended this old way of thinking and have formed political parties. This way of thinking not only inconsiderate but also smack in the face for all those Somalis who wished a unification with Somaliland based on a broader political process that is more comprehensive and based on regional power-sharing agreed upon by all interested parties including Somaliland.

    However I do understand why Britain adapted this process and had to be seen taking Somali initiative rather than bringing their own because then the solution would be foreign driven rather Somali driven. However please keep the door open for any future government to change these initiatives to make the political power-sharing something other than 4.5 formula ie more broader and respected by all Somalis, such as political parties or regional elections. However if this precious process for Somalis fails, people should not ask how or why it failed but should know who was responsible for its failures.

    • Mohamed says:

      Yes, I agree some of your points and with particular reference to the 4.5 formula which we already know has failed and will not work in practice and when I hear the Garowe2 referred repeatingly by the big countries and used it as the matrix, I think we should all assume that the road map is already dead and burred and Somalia had to prepare itself for the Plan B .

  23. Hi, Matt, FM & Brave leadership Pm, David Cameron for the results reached on your accord agreement. In a nushell we welcome the all purposed points mainly JMB until Somalis leaders are more accountable & transparent to Somalian people,its Great!! News.Two areas that needs to be developed & built are Somalia national army, coastal-guard then You” might win the minds & heart of Somalis, and it must entail development to fulfil the long suffering we” had for 2 decades.

  24. Ahmed Osman says:

    I wish to congratulate all of you, definitively, Somaliland needs certain development aspects by helping the private sector to contribute the fight against the piracy by turning them arsenal fishermen and trying the proliferation of piracy in Somaliland territorial waters.

    We have spent 1,000,000 USD for the rehabilitation of Berbera Cold Storage facility under the auspices of Italian investors, we have markets in Japan, China and Middle East. We need your embassy to turn your embassy into practical realities to all Mr. Camaron’s comments or words in London conference that they will help both somalia and Somaliland. So far nothing has been done, and the clock counts in every minute and second and waiting what you might help the Somali fishermen who are very eager to gain fishing gear, full operations blast freezers in coastal towns, processing plants & technical assistance, etc . I think even if the British government borrow the money, the Somalis are generous and will repay it, so let us see something concrete as like the Turkish Government

  25. Said ali says:

    I wish to congratulate all of you, definitively, Somaliland needs certain development aspects by helping the private sector to contribute the fight against the piracy by turning them arsenal fishermen and trying the proliferation of piracy in Somaliland territorial waters.

    We have spent 1,000,000 USD for the rehabilitation of Berbera Cold Storage facility under the auspices of Italian investors, we have markets in Japan, China and Middle East. We need your embassy to turn your embassy into practical realities to all Mr. Camaron’s comments or words in London conference that they will help both somalia and Somaliland. So far nothing has been done, and the clock counts in every minute and second and waiting what you might help the Somali fishermen who are very eager to gain fishing gear, full operations blast freezers in coastal towns, processing plants & technical assistance, etc . I think even if the British government borrow the money, the Somalis are generous and will repay it, so let us see something concrete as like the Turkish Government

  26. ali jama jira says:

    HI,AMBASSADOR,MATT, I AGREE BRITHISH GOVERNMENT NEW POLITICAL SULITION FOR SOMALIA AND WE ARE WAITHING,THNX AND ALL THE BEST,ALI.JAMAC JIRAC/SOMALI PRO REFORM GROUP,UK-LONDON AND STOCKHOLM-SWEDEN.

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