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|EU To Aid Somalia Government without looking at impact on Somaliland|
Nairobi, Kenya, July 3, 2004 (SL Times) – The European Union is considering a plan to provide massive political and economic support for the government to be formed for Somalia at the current reconciliation conference underway in Kenya since Oct 2002. The EU has so far been the main financial and political backer of the talks on Somalia being held at Mbagathi, Nairobi.
EU observers at the Mbagathi talks now agree that the ability of the anticipated government for Somalia to survive in institutional terms, will largely depend on whether it gets material and moral support from the international community or not.
Floated initially by Italy, the idea of involving EU countries in a big way in a nation-building process for Somalia, has reportedly been gaining ground recently among other European observers attending the Mbagathi talks.
EU officials monitoring Somalia’s reconciliation process are said to have been encouraged by the sudden positive turn that the talks took as of May, following the resolution of policy differences between Ethiopia and Djibouti over the Somali peace process.
There are also reports that the EU has already accepted in principle to underwrite most of the costs required for the African Union to send initially military monitors and eventually a peace keeping force to Somalia.
The AU, through its recently-established African Peace Facility, has pledged to provide a secure environment in which nascent government institutions will be able to operate, at least within the first 6 months.
According to a number of sources within the international partners of Somalia’s peace talks, EU officials believe that once a government has been inaugurated it will be crucial to re-establish Somalia’s police force and an army not only for the purpose of restoring law and order in the country but also for absorbing thousands of armed militia into these two institutions. The consensus among donors, particularly the EU observers, is to support a comprehensive disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programe for the militia, the sources added.
Despite the increasingly important role it is anticipated to play in post Mbagathi Somalia, the EU has so far shown no consideration for the repercussions its unconditional sponsorship of the Mbagathi talks and the new government to emerge from the process, will have on Somaliland’s peace, stability and democracy.
Neither the EU (the main financial sponsor of the peace process) nor IGAD (the host and facilitator of the Mbagathi talks) maintains a clear-cut policy on the Somaliland issue.