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Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 1st March 2012.

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Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Liberal Democrat, East Dunbartonshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he had on inviting representatives from Somali civil society to the London conference on Somalia on 23 February 2012.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The objective of the London Conference on Somalia was to re-energise the international community's approach to Somalia. As such, it was attended by representatives of Governments or international organisations active and influential on Somalia.

However, we were active in consulting civil society and the Somali Diaspora in the weeks before the conference. I hosted a seminar for academics and non government organisations on Somalia on 2 February, and on 9 February I met community leaders at the Finsbury Park Mosque. On 8 February, Chatham House hosted an event for Somali leaders and Somalia experts attended by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), and on 20 February the Prime Minister met representatives of the Somali Diaspora at 10 Downing street. On the eve of the conference, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs hosted a reception for the Somalia Diaspora at Lancaster House, the same venue that played host to the Conference itself the next day.

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