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Somali Leaders Back Calls for Foreign Troops


The East African Standard (Nairobi)

A section of Somali leaders yesterday supported proposals to deploy foreign peacekeepers into their war-torn country. However, they said the troops should not include forces from countries neighbouring Somalia.

And the group, which included MPs in the new transitional parliament, deputy ministers and civil society representatives, scoffed at Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's remarks that Somalia was on its knees and should be salvaged by an Igad peace-keeping force.

"We are in full agreement with our colleagues that peace-keeping forces should be deployed to our country. However, troops from neighbouring Somalia, that is, the frontline states, will not be part of the team," said Ali Bashe, who read a statement during a Press conference in Nairobi.

Sources later said the leaders were actually opposed to peacekeepers from Ethiopia, an old rival of Somalia. "What these people mean is that they particularly don't want Ethiopian troops in their country," said the source.

Among the signatories was a former prime minister in the first Transitional National Government (TNG), Mohamed Abdi Yusuf.

They were, however, unanimous in their endorsement of an agreement reached by the cabinet and parliamentarians last week in Nairobi on the urgency for restoration of security in the capital Mogadishu.

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