United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged international donors on Thursday to provide more funds to help Somalia fight piracy and restore order after two decades of anarchy.

new-som3Ban made his plea shortly before a conference began in Brussels at which donors are being asked for more than $250 million to help Somalia’s new government boost security and stop gangs hijacking ships off the east African country’s coast.

Addressing reporters after talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Ban said: “Both President Barroso and I agreed that restoring security and stability in Somalia is vital to the success of the reconciliation effort and the survival of the unity government.” “Much remains to be done,” he said.

Ban reiterated he had no intention of sending a U.N. force to Somalia any time soon, saying a peacekeeping operation would go only when “circumstances and conditions are appropriate”. Organisers of the meeting, chaired by Ban and the African Union, say more than $250 million is needed for next year to improve security in a state which has functioned without a central government since 1991 and is mired in conflict.

Also due to attend is Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, a former Islamist rebel leader elected in January at U.N.-brokered talks and widely seen as the best hope for restoring stability.

Somali officials in Brussels did not immediately comment on the return to Somalia of hardline Islamist opposition leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, who is on the U.S. list of terrorism suspects for alleged links to al Qaeda.



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