Britain Urges World to Focus on Somalia

Posted February 20th, 2012 at 7:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron is urging the international community to strengthen its efforts to help Somalia ahead of a conference in London this week.

Mr. Cameron told a reporter for VOA that Britain would like to see the whole world focus on the issue of Somalia, including supporting an African Union peacekeeping force there and helping to ensure there is a smooth transition for the country's government.

“There are good signs of what Somalis themselves are doing and I hope the London Conference can help bring the rest of the world to focus on this issue.”

He said Somalia particularly needs its young people to have some hope for a job, a voice, and a future.

Those attending Thursday's international conference on Somalia include U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Earlier this month, leaders in Somalia agreed on the formation of a new elected government during a conference in Puntland attended by international envoys from the United Nations and the African Union. The Somali leaders agreed to set up a new legislature with an upper and lower house.

The new lower house is to have 225 seats divided among Somalia's major clans. The upper house will contain representatives from each of Somalia's states. Because new states may yet be created, the number of seats in the upper house has not been finalized.

Somalia has not had a stable central government since 1991 when rebels took over the country and it spiraled into chaos.