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US Seeks UN Backing For Somalia Peacekeeping Force
ISSUE 254
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Buroa Police Arrest Prominent Clan Leader

SNM Veteran Commander Hassan Yonis Habane Dies

US Seeks UN Backing For Somalia Peacekeeping Force

World AIDS Day Celebrated In Somaliland

Erigavo’s Students Trained In Leadership

New chapter in UN-Somaliland cooperation

Floods In East Africa Said To Kill 250

Somalia On Edge After Baidoa Suicide Attack

Regional Affairs

Somaliland Administration And UNDP Agree New 2007 Partnership

Uganda : Journalists Call for Respect of Media Freedom

Editorial
Special Report

International News

US Defends Somalia Peacekeeping Plan

Religious fanaticism not the main cause of political violence and terrorism

INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP: Somalia Conflict Risk Alert

Somalia Needs To Be Stabilized - US

Iran turns up the Heat

Citing Spike In Somalia’s Arms Trade, Security Council Extends Group Tracking Flows

Al-Jazeera and the Truth

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Somaliland Within The Context Of The Bush Administration’s War On Terrorism

Somalia: Getting It Wrong In Somalia, Again

Sending African Troops Into Somalia 'Would Trigger War'

Islamists Claim Clash With Ethiopian Troops

Iman Promotes Online Auction To Help Fight AIDS

Eritrea : The Somali Problem Should Be Left for Somalis to Tackle!

Conflicts And Peace Building in Africa

Food for thought

Opinions

More Warning Signs Of Islamic Courts Influence In Somaliland & Desperate Need For Somaliland Response And Message

Media, The Hand That Rules Somaliland

The Imminence Of A Proxy War In Somalia And Its Ramifications – From A Somalilander’s Viewpoint

Islamism Rode Democracy's Wave

The Miracles At Hargeysa And Mogadishu. What Lessons Can Be Learned And What Is The Path To The Future?

Ethiopia And Kenya In Peril: Good US Strategy?


By Irwin Arieff

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 1, 2006 (Reuters) - The United States asked the U.N. Security Council on Friday to help prop up Somalia's shaky government with an African peacekeeping force that would exclude troops from bordering states such as Ethiopia.

A U.S. draft resolution obtained by Reuters would also ease a widely ignored 14-year-old U.N. arms embargo on Somalia to enable the peacekeepers to legally bring in arms and train and equip local security forces.

With widespread instability and the interim government under pressure from Islamists, "what we want to do is endorse the insertion of this regional peacekeeping force which many of the African states have called for, in order to provide some measure of stability there, to permit a political solution," U.S. Ambassador John Bolton told reporters.

Stressing that its sole goal was to support peace and stability in Somalia through "an inclusive political process," the measure would call on the Islamists to halt any further military expansion and reject individuals "with an extremist agenda or links to international terrorism."

But it also would call for a "credible dialogue" between the Islamists and Somalia's Transitional Federal Government and state the council's willingness to engage with any party "committed to achieving a political settlement through peaceful and inclusive dialogue."

The Islamists have been steadily expanding their reach and influence in Somalia. The United States says they are harboring al Qaeda operatives who threaten the region and elsewhere.

Washington earlier backed an "anti-terror" coalition of warlords in its effort to counter the Islamists' growing influence in the Horn of Africa nation, which has been in chaos, without a central government, since 1991.

But the Islamists defeated the coalition in June as they seized control of the capital, Mogadishu.

ETHIOPIAN TROOPS POUR OVER BORDER

More recently, troops from Ethiopia, a U.S. ally, have poured over the border into Somalia to support the interim government holed up in the small provincial town of Baidoa.

The African Union and regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, which brokered the transitional government's installation in 2004, have long been pushing for regional peacekeepers to support it.

But word of the U.S. initiative set off alarms this week when the Brussels-based International Crisis Group and European experts warned the draft could backfire by undermining the interim government, strengthening the Islamists and leading to wider war.

Because the Islamists are backed by Eritrean troops, the group said it feared that allowing Ethiopian peacekeepers in the force could transform the conflict in Somalia into a proxy war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, whose relations remain extremely tense years after a bloody border war between them.

The group said the Security Council should not take sides in Somalia or let neighboring countries like Ethiopia and Eritrea participate in the force.

It urged the council to instead tighten the U.N. arms embargo and encourage government and Islamist leaders to hold talks aimed at a political settlement of their rivalry.

"People criticize us when we take action on the ground that our taking action makes the situation worse. So what is the answer -- not to take action?" Bolton asked.

Source: Reuters

 


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