News / Africa

Somalia's Backers Pledge More Support to Defeat Militants

TEXT SIZE - +

The main international backers of Somalia's government have pledged additional resources for the drive to defeat al-Qaida-linked militants trying to establish a beachhead in the Horn of Africa. The issue was discussed at a high-level meeting chaired by the United States on the sidelines of the African Union summit in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Johnnie Carson gathered the presidents of Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Djibouti and Uganda, along with the prime minister of Ethiopia for a closed-door session.

Senior European Union officials were also there, along with U.N. Deputy Secretary General Asha Rose Migiro and top diplomats from Britain and France, which along with the United States comprise the so-called P3 on the U.N. Security Council.

The European Union, the United Nations and the United States are the main financial contributors to the African Union's AMISOM peacekeeping force in Somalia.

The meeting to plan additional support for Somalia's transitional government has taken on added significance following deadly suicide bomb attacks earlier this month in Kampala.  The Somali insurgent group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the terrorist acts, but Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni told the summit he believes Middle Eastern and South Asian forces were involved.  

Carson says the bombings have raised international consciousness about the need to strengthen the government in Mogadishu.

"Somalia is responsible for piracy," Carson said. "It is also a source of terrorism, which has been visited on countries like Tanzania, Kenya and most recently Uganda.  And it is a place where we see foreign fighters and where we also see an increasing number of extremists operating."

African diplomats say efforts to produce a forceful decision on Somalia at the Kampala summit are being stymied by the Eritrean delegation.  Eritrea, the only Horn of Africa country not a member of the regional economic bloc IGAD, is said to be opposed to plans by regional powers Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to reinforce AMISOM and strengthen its rules of engagement to allow commanders more authority to respond to al-Shabab attacks.  

An Eritrean delegate is said to have asked why, if Afghanistan's leaders can negotiate with the Taliban, why Somalia's leaders cannot talk to al-Shabab.  

But Secretary Carson says the consensus at the sidelines meeting is to do whatever necessary to back the transitional government.

"We came away even more united and committed to work together strengthen the TFG, to help strengthen AMISOM, to help strengthen the forces for stability in Somalia and to help do as much as we can to help beat al-Shabab," he said. "Al-Shabab represents a foreign and a negative influence that cannot only be destructive inside Somalia, but across the entire region."

One surprising development Monday was the participation of South Africa's Foreign Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, in the Somalia meeting.  AU Commission Chairman Jean Ping told reporters Saturday he had sent a personal letter to President Jacob Zuma asking him to send South African troops to join AMISOM.

When asked whether he would respond positively, Mr. Zuma only laughed.  But in a speech to the summit Monday, Mr. Zuma appeared to suggest he is considering the request.

"As leaders we should rise to this challenge, which is yet another indicator of the road we still have to travel to build a prosperous secure and peaceful Africa in a just stable world," he said.

The 6,000-member AMISOM force is made up exclusively of Ugandan and Burundian troops.  But Chairman Ping says Guinea has a battalion of trained and equipped troops ready to join the force as soon as the country's suspension from the African Union is lifted.  The West African country was suspended last year after a military coup, but the ban is likely to be lifted as soon as a second round of elections is held.   

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid