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Peter Ricketts

Ambassador to France from February 2012 to January 2016.

Part of UK in France

8th May 2013 Paris, France

The Somalia Conference: Helping a country rebuild itself

The Somalia Conference, 7 May 2013
The Somalia Conference, 7 May 2013

We’ve been holding in London the second International Conference on Somalia – the first one was in February 2012.

This time, it’s been co-chaired by the British Government and by the new President of Somalia. I used to work on the Somalia problem two years ago when I was National Security Adviser with David Cameron, and the progress since then is just remarkable.

Written version (continued)

This was a failed state, with an active terrorist organisation practically in control of the country, with rampant piracy, with famine and desperate poverty.

Two years later, the piracy is much reduced and we haven’t have a single ship successfully attacked this year. Politically, there is now a new Government and a  Parliament appointed by a representative process with the tribes. The famine is over, and there is a much greater sense of optimism and purpose. Indeed, we opened a British Embassy in Mogadishu just last month.

The aim of the Conference is first of all, to hear from the new President, his plans for the future in terms of building real security, a justice system, economic activity in this country, and for international community all of us to help the Somalia Government in that work.

The British Government pledged more money for the security sector, as well as for humanitarian development, the neighbours of Somalia are there at the Conference and other countries, including Minister Pascal Canfin, who has been there representing France.

This is an area where the international community is very united in support of a country which shows that state failure is not incurable. We can help a country to come back to rebuild itself, even after the terrible twenty years that Somalia has had.

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