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Thursday, 17 November 2011

Foreign Affairs Council debates the Horn of Africa and Somalia

The Foreign Affairs Council debated the situation in the Horn of Africa and in Somalia. It adopted a Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa, which is to guide EU action for greater peace, stability, security, prosperity and accountable government in the region. The Strategic Framework sets out five areas for EU action: Building robust and accountable political structures; contributing to conflict resolution and prevention; mitigating security threats emanating from the region; promoting economic growth, and supporting regional economic cooperation.

The Council also welcomed the High Representative’s proposal to appoint an EU Special Representative (EUSR) for the Horn of Africa, focusing in the first instance on Somalia, the regional dimension of the conflict and piracy, and looks forward to the development of action plans to support implementation of the Strategic Framework.

Ministers highlighted that continued EU engagement in the Horn of Africa will be in support of both regional efforts, including through the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) and the African Union (AU), and national efforts to achieve lasting peace, security and justice, good governance based on the democratic principles of inclusion, the rule of law and respect for human rights. The Strategic Framework also recognises the need to protect European citizens from the threats that emanate from some parts of the region, including terrorism, piracy and the proliferation of the arms. It also identifies a number of common challenges such as climate change and migration.

Finally, the Council stressed that the EU remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis affecting several countries in the Horn of Africa. Building on existing support provided to date (over € 760 million), ministers said that the EU would continue to provide neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations and calls for increased assistance from and coordination of all donors. They also called on all parties to ensure safe and unhindered access by humanitarian actors in accordance with international humanitarian principles.

Source: Council of Ministers