EU pledges 60 mln euros for security in Somalia
22 Apr 2009 12:00:03 GMT 22 Apr 2009
BRUSSELS, April 22 (Reuters - The European Union pledged at least 60 million euros ($77.54 million) on Wednesday to support security forces in Somalia and African Union peacekeepers based in the conflict ridden region.
The European Commission made the announcement a day before an international conference in Brussels that will seek funds to boost security in Somalia, which faces an insurgency and is used as a base for pirates attacking global shipping.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the pirate attacks had been "a wake-up call to the international community" but a military response -- which has included the deployment of EU and NATO naval forces -- was not enough.
"Supporting Somalia's future security set-up is critical," he said in a statement, which said security would be established at sea only if there was stability on land.
"The only real and viable solution is to help Somalia from within: by pooling international efforts and supporting the new government to build security, peace and stability," Barroso said.
Thursday's conference will test support for Somalia's new government which says it needs more money to improve security and help provide jobs for unemployed young men, giving them alternatives to piracy and other violence.
The meeting will be hosted by the European Commission and chaired by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Chairman Jean Ping. It will aim to raise at least $165 million to boost security for the next 12 months.
EU aid commissioner Louis Michel called on the rest of the international community to "dig deep".
Somalia's government has expressed its commitment to building a civilian police force of 10,000 personnel and a 6,000-strong national security force and has said this will require international funding. (Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Farah Master)