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Oral Answers to Questions — Somalia

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th April 2001.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Labour, Tottenham 12:00 am, 25th April 2001

If she will make a statement on Government aid to Somalia. [157647]

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development

Somalia has had no Government since 1991 and is therefore suffering great poverty and instability. There is a growing demand among the people for the re-establishment of government. We support the recent establishment of the transitional Government and hope that they will secure order and development. We are providing assistance in Somalia through NGOs and stand ready to support UN peace-building programmes.

Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Labour, Tottenham

I am grateful for my right hon. Friend's response. The transitional Government are making some progress, but as there has been no direct British aid since 1993–94, does she now believe that there is a greater case for support of the transitional Government and of the Somali people?

Photo of Clare Short Clare Short Secretary of State, Department for International Development

I am afraid that the transitional Government are based on an agreement to bring order and government, but that has not yet been achieved. We need to support this effort. David Stevens, the United Nations Secretary General's special representative in Somalia, is hopeful about the new arrangements. Through the UN, we need to support the transitional Government in creating order, and then some co-operation with Puntland, to move forward development in Somalia. I agree with my hon. Friend's objective, but we need a bit more progress before we can have full-blooded development.