MOGADISHU (AP) â€” The international community is willing to help Somalia as long as there is â€œprogress on the groundâ€, the United Nationsâ€™ political chief said during a four-hour trip to the Somali capital.UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe also urged more troops for a peacekeeping force, and said the situation in Mogadishu â€œhas been and remains grimâ€. â€œThe international community is willing to help Somalia in all areas as long as there is progress on the ground,â€ Pascoe said Friday at the end of his trip.
Somalia descended into chaos in 1991, when warlords ousted longtime dictator Mohammad Siad Barre and then turned on one another. The government was formed in 2004 with the help of the United Nations, but it has struggled to assert any real control throughout the country.
The administration, with the crucial aid of neighbouring Ethiopia, ousted Islamic radicals who had ruled Mogadishu and much of southern Somali for six months last year. But insurgents linked to the group have vowed to launch an Iraq-style guerrilla war until the country becomes an Islamic state.
Somali and Ethiopian troops have come under frequent attacks.
On Friday, the European Union approved â‚¬4 millionÂ euros ($5.4 million) in emergency humanitarian aid to help some 350,000 displaced people in Somalia.
The funds will be used to provide shelter, food, water and medical supplies for people fleeing the recent fighting between Islamist insurgents and Ethiopian-led forces backing the transitional government.
A drought, floods and an outbreak of Rift Valley fever have increased the need for additional aid, officials said.
The funds come on top of â‚¬21 million euros ($28.3 million) already allocated to Somalia by the EU this year.
EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Olli Rehn urged those fighting in Somalia to commit to a cease-fire. He called it a precondition for the national reconciliation congress in Somalia â€” expected to start mid-June â€” to be effective.
â€œThere is no military way out,â€ Rehn said in a statement. â€œOnly an inclusive political settlement can put an end to the cycle of violence which has devastated the country over the last 16 years.â€ The EU has provided a total of â‚¬32.5 million euros ($43.7 million) in humanitarian aid to Somalia since 2004.