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London Conference Kicks Off
Somalia Report's Live Coverage
By VENETIA ARCHER 02/23/2012
Breakfast Meeting at 10 Downing St in London
Breakfast Meeting at 10 Downing St in London

With the London Conference on Somalia set to kick off at 10:30 GMT, Somalia Report begins its up-to-the-minute coverage of the the latest dish, dirt, and developments.

10:50 GMT:

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni addresses delegates:
(Publisher's Note: Uganda has been the largest overt beneficiary and contributor of troops to AMISOM that began in March of 2007. There has been a long running islamic insurgency inside Uganda but no direct impact on by Somalia until they were targeted by al Shabaab in 2010. The US Embassy in Kampala was supposed to be part of the Dar es Salaam and Nairobi bombings but the bombers were arrested with the explosives. Uganda receives direct payment for their troops,support payments and aid programs.)

-Pirates use insecurity onland as a 'springboard' to attack ships and bring them back to safe harbour off the Somali coast

-Stresses the importance of internal and external trade, and security to support it, for future of Somalia

-An effective resolution requires internal stakeholders, regional partners and international actors to work together

10:29 GMT:

Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed steps to the podium:

Publisher's note: The less than charismatic president of the TFG is a cleric, former Islamic Courts Union member and a balance to the typically secular westernized diaspora-sourced prime minister.

-Claims that Somalia has "spent billions on combatting piracy." Somalia Report would love the source for that claim

-Gives special thanks to the leaders of Djibouti, Rwanda, Turkey, and to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon

-Wants "more international efforts" to help rebuild Somalia. Greatest needs lie in buttressing security, services, infrastructure, and agriculture

-Creation of fishing jobs will stem the tide of piracy.

-Need to "reinforce security forces, give necessary equipment and training"

-The Somali people desire a "comprehensive and permanent peace"

-The TFG is the "only entity that has international and Somali support"

10:20 GMT:

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon addresses the conference: (Publisher's Note: Somalia has been a ward of the UN for two decades. At the same time the UN - which relies on member states - has chronically underfunded and overtasked efforts in Somalia. Famine, piracy, drought, conflict, division and terrorism have been impossible to resolve directly by the UN leading to a more robust action by Western backed proxies and neighbor states.)

-Conference is an "unmissable moment for Somalia." When he visited he saw "damage and destruction" but also "promise."

-Extension of the African Union Peacekeeping mission (AMISOM) "essential" to maintaining the gains made so far

-Welcomes "unprecedented agreement" to include women in the political process

-The UN's presence in Somalia is "small but growing"

10:12 GMT:

UK Prime Minister David Cameron speaks: (Publisher's Note: The UK's role as colonizer and now organizer is lockstep with the US and France. Their renewed military and humanitarian vigor may be a direct result of reduced operations in other conflict zones and the attendent military and financial benefits. Currently the UK is the home to maritime insurance, ransom payments and anti piracy business.)

-"The steps the Somalis are taking themselves is the most important part of it all"

-Creation of an international task force on ransom payments vital

-2.3 million people still in urgent need of assistance after the famine

-Need a 'reinvigorated political process'. Hopes that the conference will result in a 'renewed momentum' for Somalia.

-Success of the new political process 'depends on trust'. Need to improve transparency & accountability, through creation of Joint Financial Management Board (an item on the conference agenda)

In the News: London Conference set to galvinise peace push

-IOL: Somalia looks to future at London conference

-NPR: London Meeting to Focus on Somalia's Needs