European members of the International Contact Group on Somalia have been holding talks in Brussels on efforts to stabilise the country. A full Group meeting is scheduled for this Friday in Nairobi at working-group level. The Brussels talks included Sweden, Britain, Italy, the European Commission and non-EU Norway, with foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeyer of current EU president Germany as chair.
He said: “We see that to bring stability to Somalia in humanitarian terms, the EU and its member states are available to help, as in the past.”
Islamist forces on Monday withdrew from their last stronghold. Ethiopian warplanes backing the Somali government have pursued them to the Kenyan border.
Somalia’s prime minister has said Ethiopian forces might stay for months. He and his counterpart in Adis Ababa have called for international peacekeepers to be sent
A demand that militia and residents of Mogadishu hand in firearms has had little effect.
In the Somali capital, police chief Muhammed Ali Hasan Loyan said:
“The biggest difficulty facing us now is the weapons still in the hands of civilians.”
Analysts say the Islamists may launch an insurgency against a government they see as propped up by Christian-led Ethiopia.
The EU is seeking to coordinate its contribution to peace and reconciliation.