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Home >> World
UPDATED: 20:57, June 13, 2006
Somali PM seeks deployment of foreign peacekeepers
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Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Gedi on Tuesday called on neighboring countries to deploy peacekeepers to Somalia to enable the nascent administration gain a foothold there despite existing UN arms embargo.

Addressing a regional meeting of Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Nairobi, Gedi told foreign ministers from IGAD member states that urgent action was required to secure the interim Somali government and set the country on the path of lasting peace and stability.

"Today I want to appeal to IGAD member states, and the African Union to take action and not wait and see," Gedi told the foreign ministers meeting in Nairobi.

Without peacekeepers, the Somali prime minister expressed fears that militia rule in the Horn of Africa nation would prevent the interim government from carrying out its work in safety, free from violence, corruption and extortion.

"If we sit to wait and see, the issue of the Somali people would be out of control and will not be limited only to Somalia but to the entire region. It would be a global problem. Therefore it's better to prevent than wait for treatment later on," the prime minister warned.

The IGAD, a conflict resolution body, says AU troops from Sudan and Uganda were ready to deploy but had been stopped by lack of funds and the UN arms embargo.

IGAD has pledged to deal decisively with "spoilers" keen to derail a return to a proper government in Somalia and threatened to refer them to the International Criminal Court.

Fierce opposition to the participation of neighboring countries Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya in the force prompted a bloody brawl in the Somali parliament last year.

IGAD, which comprises Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda and nominally Somalia, has repeatedly announced that it would not let the Somali peace process collapse.

Somalia has been in chaos without any functioning central authority since the fall of strongman Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 turned the nation into a patchwork of fiefdoms ruled by warlords.

Source: Xinhua

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