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Brussels, 22 August 2008
Somalia: Commission welcomes signing of agreement between the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia
Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, welcomes the agreement between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia, concluded on 19th August, reiterating the support expressed by the French Presidency of the European Union.
Commissioner Michel remarked: "The parties to the Agreement have acted in a spirit of commitment and compromise, and of courage. I trust that its signature marks a significant step forward towards that reconciliation, and towards peace. As the most concrete and immediate confirmation of that progress, I call upon all parties to fully respect the cessation of armed conflict within 30 days. This is a unique opportunity for peace and stability in Somalia which has to be seized for the benefit of Somalia and to end the long suffering of its civilian population."
And he added: "The Chairman of the Commission of the African Union, Mr Jean Ping, has rightly called for support from the international community to sustain the current momentum towards peace. The Commission for its part will continue to do all in its powers – along with the United Nations and with the rest of the international community – to support the process of continued political reconciliation in Somalia."
In March 2008, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) presented its reconciliation strategy to achieve peace and stability. This strategy aims at promoting peace-building at the community level and proposed reconciliation between the TFG and the opposition based within and outside Somalia.
One major step in the implementation of this strategy was the political agreement reached in Djibouti on 9 June under the auspices of the UN between the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia and the TFG, which has now been formally signed. The agreement provides for:
During the meeting held in Djibouti between 16 and 18 August, the agreement was officially signed by both parties. Two committees, the Joint Security Committee and a High Level Committee were formally set up and their terms of reference approved, the international community, including diplomats from regional organizations (African Union, European Union, League of Arab States) and individual countries, as well as representatives of Somali civil society and business community, attended as observers.
At the end of the conference on 18 August, both parties issued a joint communiqué reiterating to cease all armed confrontation and to establish sub committees to implement the arrangements to that end.
The EU is providing full political and financial support to the Djibouti political reconciliation process which is seen as a real opportunity for Somalia to progress on peace and reconciliation after more than 17 years of civil conflict. To support the implementation of the Djibouti agreement, the EU will allocate €3 million in the coming days. The Commission currently supports Somalia with approximately €50 million per year. In addition, €27 million in humanitarian aid has been allocated in 2008, more than double the amount of the previous year. The new EU country strategy for Somalia, with a proposed allocation from the 10th European Development Fund of more than €254 million for the 2008-13 periods, will underpin and support the implementation of the process of political reconciliation in Somalia.