US threatens sanctions on Somali peace spoilers

US threatens sanctions on Somali peace spoilers

US threatens sanctions on Somali peace spoilers

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (R) meets with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon ahead of a conference on Somalia in London on Feb 22. AA photo

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday threatened sanctions against anyone blocking reforms intended to end Somalia’s “hopeless, bloody conflict” and eradicate militant and pirate groups seen as a growing menace to world security.

 Addressing a conference aimed at energizing attempts to end more than 20 years of anarchy, Clinton also demanded greater efforts to cut financial support for the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militant group fighting the country’s weak Transitional Federal Government (TFG). U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and British Prime Minister David Cameron were among those attending the talks in London.

Sanctions awaits those seek to undermine peace

“The position of the United States is straightforward: Attempts to obstruct progress and maintain the broken status quo will not be tolerated,” Clinton told the one-day gathering in London of about 40 African, Arab and Western leaders and government ministers.

“We will encourage the international community to impose further sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on people inside and outside the TFG who seek to undermine Somalia’s peace and security or to delay or even prevent the political transition.” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also attended the conference in London. Turkey will host the next international conference on Somalia in June in cooperation with the United Nations.

Turkey’s European Union Minister Egemen Bağış touched on the Somalia meeting in a conference held in Istanbul yesterday saying if Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan did not visit Somalia when the crisis hit the country, the meeting in London could not have happened.

Cameron told the gathering that a failure to end Somalia’s chaos will endanger international security, and the time is right for the outside world to help the failed state get back on its feet. Cameron said Somalis’ problems “don’t just affect Somalia. They affect us all. In a country where there is no hope, chaos, violence and terrorism thrive. Pirates are disrupting vital trade routes and kidnapping tourists.”

Compiled from Reuters, AA and AP stories by the Daily News staff.