On 23 February leaders and Ministers from over 40 governments and international organisations will come together in London with the aim of delivering a new international approach to Somalia. Prime Minister Fredrick Reinfeldt and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt will be representing Sweden. Why does Somalia matter to Sweden and the UK?
Mainly because of security. Terrorism originating in or around Somalia threatens many European countries, including Sweden and the UK. The London Conference aims to create new international consensus and energy on how to disrupt terrorism, including the movement of terrorists to and from Somalia, the flow of their finances, and delivering effective information gathering, investigation, detention and criminal prosecution.
There will be many other dimensions to the conference, with discussions on political, security and the humanitarian fronts. The aims of the conference are wide ranging, given the need to step up efforts to tackle the root causes and effects of the problems faced by Somalia across the board.
Engagement in Somalia is important for both the UK and Sweden. Both countries have large Somali diasporas and given Sweden’s experience and expertise on development and stabilisation, it will have an important role to play in the conference and its follow-up.