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Summary: Somalia: EU Commissioner Michel on a peace mission to region (19 December 2006: Brussels)
The European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, is travelling today and tomorrow to the Horn of Africa to meet the key players in the Somali conflict, including the leaders of the Transitional Federal Institutions and the Supreme Council of the Islamic Courts. He intends to submit a Memorandum of Understanding to the parties that should prevent an escalation of violence and press them to resume talks in order to find a peaceful solution. The European Commission remains deeply concerned at the deteriorating security situation in Somalia and the risk of an imminent conflict between the Transitional Federal Government and the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts.
In recent days and weeks, Commissioner Michel has had several contacts with President Yusuf and Prime Minister Gedi of Somalia, the Speaker of the Somali Transitional Federal Parliament and Sheik Aweys, the Leader of the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts. His initiative of a Memorandum of Understanding is supported by key international partners such as the League of Arab States, several countries of the region of the Horn of Africa and EU Member States. By signing this Memorandum, all parties would commit themselves to an immediate cessation of hostilities and to a resumption of talks at the highest level in the framework of the Khartoum process.
The EU is heavily engaged in the Khartoum negotiation process and supports the mediation efforts of the League of Arab States and Kenya. The EU is already the main aid donor for Somalia, providing political support to the Transitional Federal Institutions and meeting the basic needs of the Somali people.