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|Broad Somali Govt Can Rebuild Trust-U.N. Official|
By Tsegaye Tadesse
ADDIS ABABA, June 16 (Reuters) - The surest way for Somali factions to repair shattered international trust in their failed state is to form an all-inclusive government that would rebuild peace and deter terrorists, a U.N. official said on Wednesday.
"The Somalis are no different from other people. They want peace and to get away from the stateless situation," Winston Tubman, the U.N. Secretary-General's special representative for Somalia, told Reuters in an interview.
Somalia descended into anarchy after warlords ousted then military ruler Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991.
Major nations are repelled by its image as a quagmire in which U.S. forces floundered a decade ago, and U.S. officials regard it as a potential safe haven for Islamic militants because it has lacked a central government since Barre's overthrow.
But Tubman said the international community might become more involved in helping Somalia if Somali factions at peace talks hosted by Kenya agreed to stop squabbling and come together to form a new government with broad representation.
"The new government in Somalia should be an all inclusive one that would bring peace and reconciliation among its people and also deal with the terrorist threat in the Horn of Africa.
"The international community thinks Somalis like fighting among themselves. But this is not a true reflection of what I have observed in the two years I worked with Somalis," he said.
Speaking on a visit to Addis Ababa for talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Nairobi-based Tubman said the warlords who have broken the country up into fiefdoms did not represent the seven million ordinary Somalis.
"The warlords are in the minority -- there are many positive elements inside Somalia. Most of the Somali people are yearning to see the day in which violence would end. They want peace, they want to develop their country," he said.
Factions at the 19-month-old Kenya talks have yet to agree a successor administration to an Arab-backed transitional national government (TNG) whose three-year mandate expired in 2003.
Mediators, seeking to step up the pace of negotiations and stir up interest among donor agencies in funding Somali reconstruction, aim to install a new government by July 1.
U.S. military involvement in Somalia ended in humiliation in 1993 when 18 U.S. personnel in a U.N. peace force called UNOSOM were killed in a battle in Mogadishu recalled in the recent Hollywood film "Black Hawk Down".
"We do not want to repeat that," Tubman said of the battle.
"We want to make sure as many if not all Somali leaders are on board the peace process. When that happens, then we will be able to make a strong case to the international community that it is time to put their weight behind the all inclusive Somalia government.
"If we fail to form a government in Somalia urgently, the threat for regional and world peace would grow as terrorists would use the stateless country as a staging ground," he added.