Successful London Conference Important for Future of Somalia: Enough Project Report

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–February 23, 2012.  Today’s London Conference on the future of Somalia is widely seen as a critical moment in Somalia’s long 20-year crisis and could shape the direction of the country in the coming years, for better or for worse, according to a new Enough Project report.

The report, “Somalia: What to Expect of the London Conference and Beyond,” by Somalia expert Ken Menkhaus, details the expectations of the conference and the future of Somalia after its political transition is completed in the next six months.

“The next year in Somalia constitutes a narrow but very real window of opportunity for the country to emerge from over 20 years of war and state collapse,” Menkhaus said. “The results of the London Conference are not nearly as important as the intense follow-up work that will be required of the international community and the Somali people.”

According to the report, there are three main objectives. First, external actors on Somalia policy must come to a consensus in general and especially on the position that Somalia’s political transition must be concluded by August 2012. Second, international actors must establish or reaffirm general principles about the process by which the transition will end in coming months. The final objective is to drum up external financial support for the post-transition administration and the expanded African Union peacekeeping force.

“What is certain is that the next few months will produce a messy, contentious scramble to accelerate the end of the transition in Somalia,” Menkhaus said. “That will work against a stated aim of the London Conference conveners to work toward a more inclusive and transparent transition process. Somalia has a long history of rushed reconciliation and power-sharing agreements, and the results have generally not been good.”

Read the full report: “Somalia: What to Expect of the London Conference and Beyond.”