September 29, 2009 / 5:49 PM / 8 years ago

Good EU backing for Somali training plan -Solana

3 Min Read

GOTHENBURG, Sweden, Sept 29 (Reuters) - European Union defence ministers voiced support on Tuesday for a plan to establish training missions for Somali security forces outside the war-torn country, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said.

The proposal envisages training police and other security personnel in Djibouti, where France already conducts such a mission, and possibly Uganda, Solana told reporters on the sidelines of an EU defence ministers' meeting in Gothenburg.

"In general terms it is a very well taken idea," Solana said. "But we have still to polish it up." He said the plan could be discussed by EU leaders at a summit in November if it can be finalised by then.

EU officials have said the aim of international support for the Somali security sector is to build up a police force of about 10,000 people and a security force of 5,000.

At a meeting in Brussels in April, international donors pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to help Somalia build up its security forces, fight piracy and restore order after more than two decades of anarchy.

The seizure of international ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean by Somali gangs has driven up insurance rates and other costs in sea lanes linking Europe to Asia, and Washington has long tried to ensure al Qaeda cannot operate in Somalia.

Solana stressed the need for the international community as a whole to contribute to stabilising Somalia.

"We are not going to solve it alone," he said. "The African Union is involved already. And other countries from the international community, the United States, have to get engaged also."

German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung said German troops, some of which are already based in Djibouti, could participate. Belgian Defence Minister Pieter De Crem called the plan "an interesting proposal", but said some countries would find it difficult to commit resources.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Niklas Pollard; editing by Robin Pomeroy/David Stamp)



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