BRUSSELS, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- The European Union said Monday it was offering a peacekeeping mission in Somalia $163 million in assistance to help cover troop allowances.
"A safer and more secure environment in Somalia will benefit the Somali people and development of the country as a whole," EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs said in a statement Monday.
The African Union Mission in Mission is mandated by the U.N. Security Council to help ensure stability in Somalia. The EU said its financial support was critical in allowing peacekeepers to carry out their operations across the country.
Somalia recently formed its first functioning central government in more than 20 years. It's struggling to expand its influence beyond Mogadishu because of a lingering threat from al-Shabbab, al-Qaida's affiliate in Somalia.
U.N. special envoy to Somalia Nicholas Kay said he was "appalled" by a terrorist attack Saturday in the Somali capital. A suicide bombing on a restaurant popular with government workers and journalists left at least 15 people dead.
The EU said Monday it was co-hosting a conference in Brussels next week with the Somali government. Billed as a "new deal for Somalia," the conference is aimed at generating support for the country's reconstruction.