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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:42, May 18, 2006
U.S. dodges comment on report of backing warlords in Somalia
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The White House declined on Wednesday to comment on a Washington Post report that the United States has been secretly backing warlords in Somalia and vowed to work with regional and international partners in Somalia to establish a functioning central government there.

"The United States strongly supports the transitional federal institutions in Somalia, because they are trying to reestablish a functioning central government within Somalia that can bring the Somali people out of the period of civil conflict," White House spokesman Tony Snow said at a briefing.

Snow said that there is instability in Somalia right now and there is concern about the presence of foreign terrorists, particularly al-Qaida, within Somalia.

"These are problems that we've seen in other ungoverned regions in the past. The terrorists are going to seek to take advantage of the environment and use that kind of chaos in order to put together camps and therefore mount operations around the world," Snow said.

"We will continue to work with regional and international partners wherever we can to crack down on terrorism and also to try to prevent its rising," Snow added.

According to the Washington Post report, more than a decade after U.S. troops withdrew from Somalia following a disastrous military intervention, officials of Somalia's interim government and some U.S. analysts of Africa policy say the United States has returned to the African country, secretly supporting secular warlords who have been waging fierce battles against Islamic groups for control of the capital, Mogadishu.

U.S. officials have long feared that Somalia, which has had no effective government since 1991, is a desirable place for al-Qaida members to hide and plan attacks, the report said.

Source: Xinhua

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