Minister Costello emphasises Irish support for Somalia at London Conference
DUBLIN, Ireland, May 7, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello is today (Tuesday 7 May) representing Ireland at a major international conference on Somalia in London.
The conference, jointly hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron and the President of Somalia, Ahmed Sheikh Mohamoud, involves representatives of more than 50 countries. It aims to strengthen international political support for the efforts of the Somali Government and people to rebuild their country after more than 20 years of conflict and instability.
Underlining the commitment of Ireland and the EU to efforts to ensure security and stability in Somalia, Minister Costello said:
“Ireland is proud to have provided the Mission Commander of the EU Training Mission in Somalia since 2011. This mission has played an important role in creating a core of troops for the Somali National Security Force. Through this training mission the soldiers receive training in topics including human rights, gender and international humanitarian law.”
While the main focus of the Conference is on security in Somalia, the Irish Government believes it is vitally important that we remember those who continue to suffer because of the consequences of insecurity and conflict.
Minister Costello pointed out that “hundreds of thousands of Somalis continue to live in conflict-affected areas, including those areas that are still occupied or contested by Al Shabaab. More than two million more are in refugee camps. There must continue to be a strong focus on humanitarian needs.”
The Government, through Irish Aid, has contributed more than €40 million to aid agencies operating in Somalia since 2007. Our partners on the ground are providing life saving humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable populations while at the same time working to build livelihoods and strengthen the resilience of communities across the country.
The Government's new Policy for International Development which was launched last week places an even stronger focus on our engagement in promoting stability and development in countries that are experiencing fragility. This will provide a solid platform for Ireland to deepen and strengthen its partnership with countries such as Somalia.
Minister Costello stressed that “Ireland will maintain its strong support for Somalia's people and political leaders as they strive to build a better, more peaceful and prosperous future, and a country that is democratic and inclusive, and where human rights and especially the rights of women and minorities are fully respected.”