From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Thu Dec 18 2008 - 05:58:45 EST
'Support lacking' for Somalia force
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, has said there is
almost no international support for a peacekeeping force to be deployed in
He said on Wednesday that, after contacting at least 50 countries, none had
volunteered to lead a multinational stabilisation force and only one or two
would be willing to provide soldiers.
The US, which has called for peacekeepers to be deployed, has not offered to
send any troops itself but to provide funding, training, equipment, airlifts
Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, said on Tuesday that the US expects
convince the Security Council to approve a peacekeeping force by the end of
'Situation not ripe'
Ban said on Wednesday it would be too risky to send UN peacekeepers.
"The situation is not ripe, the conditions are not favourable ... If there
is no peace to keep, peacekeeping operations are not supposed to be there,"
He said the first priority should be to strengthen the African Union force
known as Amisom.
First deployed in March 2007, it is authorised to have 8,000 troops, but now
includes only 2,600, mostly Ugandans and Burundians.
The US and Somalia want a UN peacekeeping force to take over duties from
Amisom, which has so far proved ineffectual.
Ethiopia is planning to withdraw their troops, which are backing Somalia's
government, early next year.
There are fears that the violence in the country will increase unless more
peacekeepers are sent soon.
Somalia has been wracked by civil war for 17 years.
A previous UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia pulled out in 1995, after two
US army Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and 18 US soldiers were killed
in a battle in 1993.
Eleven people were killed on Wednesday in fighting between al-Shabab
fighters and Ethiopian forces in the capital Mogadishu, witnesses said.
Al-Shabab controls most of south and central Somalia and carry out
almost daily attacks on government troops and their Ethiopian allies.
"We shall continue the war until foreign troops get out of the country,"
Sheikh Muktar Robow Ali Abu Mansoor, an al-Shebaab spokesman, said.
He said many Ethiopian soldiers had been killed in the fighting.
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