Lord Avebury: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the achievements that he has mentioned date back 15 months and that the persons who were then appointed to govern Somalia have left it to the mercy of terrorists and pirates? In view of the fact that the meetings now being held, or to be held, in Aden and Nairobi are between those same individuals, how can we have any faith in the process? Does the Minister agree that the Security Council should have a fallback plan in case the faction leaders fail to come to an agreement that enables the government to be properly installed in Mogadishu?
Lord Triesman: My Lords, whatever the difficulties,
in our view the best prospect for restoring governance to Somalia requires
that the Security Council remains the body responsible for the peace
process. Resolutions and presidential statements over the past year have
demonstrated the commitment. The concerns of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury,
are well founded. The Transitional Federal Parliament has been slow to
engage with the Mogadishu-based Ministers and it has been ambiguous on the
ceasefire and the national security plan, all of which are central to the
United Nations' plan. However, I can see no sensible alternatives at the
moment—although some have been proposed—to the hard work that is going
on to achieve the plan.
Lord Triesman: My Lords, I am aware of no direct evidence of Italian weapons being smuggled in that way. However, during the course of our presidency, we urged the Italians to take seriously their responsibilities to work together with all other European Union nations in achieving peace. They have had somewhat different policies in one or two key respects. On assistance, we intend to provide up to £13 million to Somalia in the financial year 2005–06. We contributed £420,000 to the reconciliation process and we are also providing assistance to the UN development programme to support the government's relocation to Somalia and the humanitarian relief operations. We shall provide more, if it is credible to do so, to a government who are properly established.
Lord Avebury: My Lords, on piracy, can the Minister say how many vessels were hijacked off the coast of Somalia in 2005? Is not the Kenyan navy trying to do what it can to solve this problem, and should it not have the support of the Security Council by a resolution endorsing its use of armed force where necessary, under Chapter 7 of the charter?
Do the Government not think that Somaliland deserves rewarding in some way for being an oasis of stability and peace in the region which has recently demonstrated its commitment to democracy in holding successful parliamentary elections?
Lord Triesman: My Lords, I cannot give precise figures for the incidents of piracy. However, as I understand it, some have been reported to a recent conference in Jakarta, and a ministerial summit is to take place in Tokyo this month so that proper attention from the G8 and the international community can be given to dealing with it. The International Maritime Organisation has drafted a resolution, which its secretary-general will submit to the United Nations Secretary-General in 2006, although we do not yet have a specified date.