described the east African nation as a “failed state that directly threatens British interests,” citing attacks on tourists and aid workers, and radicalization of young Britons by militant Islamist groups with roots in the region.
Cameron announced last month that British merchant ships sailing off the coast of Somalia would be able to carry armed guards to ward off pirate attacks, bringing it into line with many other countries.
“Somali pirates aren’t invincible: they are violent and lawless men in small boats and it is time we properly stood up to them,” Cameron said in a speech at a banquet to honors the new Mayor of the City of London.
“But there is a real and pressing need to pull together the international effort,” Cameron said in the speech, traditionally a forum for setting out foreign policy priorities. “That is why Britain will host a major conference in London next year.”
Cameron has been strengthened by a foreign policy success after Britain and France took the lead in international military efforts to support Libyans who rose up and eventually overthrew Muammar Gaddafi, in power for four decades.
The Somali conference was to “focus attention on protecting merchant ships passing through the Gulf of Aden, tackling pirates, pressurizing the extremists, supporting countries in the region and addressing the causes of conflict and instability in Somalia.”
He said the conference in London will address protecting ships in the Gulf of Aden and pressuring extremists, but he did not give a date for the meeting. “Somalia is a failed state that directly threatens British interests,” he said. “We shouldn’t tolerate this.”
The British government last month announced it was spending roughly $7 million to fund a package of counter-piracy projects that complement naval efforts
Meanwhile, al-Shabaab is said to be consolidating its positions in southern Somalia in preparation for a fight with the Kenyan military. Nairobi sent its forces to the northern border following a string of kidnappings in the region.