[dehai-news] VOA: Top US Africa Envoy Meets With Feuding Somali Leaders


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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Tue Dec 23 2008 - 08:49:26 EST


Top US Africa Envoy Meets With Feuding Somali Leaders

By VOA News
23 December 2008

        

The top U.S. diplomat for Africa has met with Somalia's feuding leaders in
an attempt to resolve the war-torn nation's political crisis.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer

Jendayi Frazer held separate meetings with Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf
and Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein at the airport in Kenya's capital,
Nairobi Monday.

There was no immediate word on what was discussed.

President Yusuf attempted to fire the prime minister a little over a week
ago. The prime minister rejected the move, and the Somali parliament voted
to support Mr. Hussein the next day. However, a group of about 80 lawmakers
today declared that the vote was illegal.

The power struggle has heightened concern over Somalia's future once
Ethiopian troops who support the government withdraw, a move scheduled for
the end of this month.

At a meeting of African Union ministers today, Ethiopia's vice minister of
foreign affairs, Fikadu Alemu, turned down an AU request to keep the troops
in Somalia a little longer.

On Sunday, a bloc of East African nations condemned President Yusuf's move
to fire the prime minister. IGAD (the Inter-Governmental Authority on
Development) said it recognizes Mr. Hussein as prime minister and called on
nations to impose sanctions against President Yusuf. Kenya has already
announced intentions to do so.

The Somali government has been losing territory to Islamist insurgents who
impose sharia (Islamic) law in the areas they control.

President Yusuf told al-Jazeera television today that once Ethiopia pulls
out, there is nothing to stop insurgent groups like al-Shabab from taking
over the entire country.

A small African Union peacekeeping force plans to stay in Mogadishu after
the Ethiopians leave. The AU said Sunday that Nigerian troops will join the
current force of 3,200 soldiers from Uganda and Burundi.

Fighting between the insurgents and Ethiopian-backed government forces has
killed thousands of Somalis over the past two years. More than a million
others have been displaced from their homes, causing what aid agencies
describe as a humanitarian disaster.

 


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