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UPDATED: 13:05, April 23, 2005
UN calls on Somali leaders to attend relocation meeting
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The United Nations on Friday appealed to members of the Somali government and parliament in exile to convene in Nairobi for a meeting next week on relocation to their war ravaged country.

A statement from the UN Political Office for Somalia said the meeting is aimed at finding urgent solution to the current difficulties within the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) of Somalia.

"The hopes of the Somali people for a speedy and adequate resolution to the on-going differences among members of the TFIs are depending on the early convening of these talks and their outcome," the UN office said.

"The international partners remain ready to play their role in facilitating the achievement of such an outcome," it added.

The Somali cabinet's recent decision to temporarily relocate from its current base in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to Baidoa and Jowhar near Somali capital Mogadishu has sparked a stiff division within the cabinet and members of the parliament.

In a bid to break the deadlock, Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf has called on scores of lawmakers currently in Mogadishu to leave and attend a final meeting on relocation in Nairobi next week.

"The president appeals to all members of the parliament and cabinet who are in Mogadishu to join our final session regarding the national relocation and security plan in Nairobi, Kenya," Yusuf's spokesman said in a statement.

A group of Somali lawmakers and ministers are currently in Mogadishu on unilateral relocation missions that may threaten already slim chances for the transitional government to reach a consensus on the matter.

The controversy over the move and the composition of proposed regional peacekeeping mission to assist the government's move resulted in a fist fight between Somali lawmakers last month.

The deadlock led some lawmakers and cabinet officials to embark on trips to Mogadishu in bids to pacify the city by flushing out marauding militias there.

The country's transitional government was formed in Kenya last year, but has so far been unable to move back to Somalia because of security considerations.

It is, however, under increasing pressure from the Kenyan government and western diplomats to establish itself in Somalia.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991, when the administration of Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled. Serious conflicts ensued between various clan-based faction leaders and their militias, who scrambled to claim power, resources and territory.

Source: Xinhua

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