Quick Deployment Of Peacekeepers Urged For Somalia; Aid Pledged




 
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Quick Deployment Of Peacekeepers Urged For Somalia; Aid Pledged
 
January 6th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Quick Deployment Of Peacekeepers Urged For Somalia; Aid Pledged


Quick Deployment Of Peacekeepers Urged For Somalia; Aid Pledged
Washington Post
January 6, 2007
Pg. 13

By Karen DeYoung, Washington Post Staff Writer
Western and African diplomats meeting yesterday in Nairobi urged the quick deployment of an African peacekeeping force in Somalia, as the United States pledged $40 million to assist the mission and provide humanitarian aid.
In a communique peppered with references to the urgency of the situation, the Somalia Contact Group called for "immediate support for the stabilization of Somalia," noted an imperative to launch a political reconciliation process "without delay" and cited the need for "immediate concrete assistance."
"The group clearly felt it was important that there not be a security vacuum," Jendayi E. Frazer, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, who chaired the meeting, told reporters in Nairobi.
Ethiopia has said its military force, which drove out the Islamic movement that controlled the southern part of the country and installed a weak, internationally backed transitional government, would stay only a short time.
If money were the only problem, Somalia would be on its way to stability, noted a diplomat from one of the countries involved in the group, whose membership includes the United States and several European countries as well as the European Union, Kenya and Tanzania, with participation from the United Nations and the African Union.
So far, only one African country has agreed to contribute troops to the force. Uganda has offered a 1,200-member contingent that Frazer said she hoped would be deployed by the end of January but that is only about a tenth of what is seen as necessary. The contact group communique said that Kenya's foreign minister would begin a mission to "explore additional troop contributions."
Of the $40 million pledged by the United States, $16 million is designated for peacekeeping support. The E.U. has pledged $47 million, of which $19.5 million is to go to the force.
U.S. Gen. William Ward, the deputy commander of the U.S. European Command who is traveling with Frazer, told reporters in Nairobi that there were no plans to deploy U.S. military personnel. U.S. assistance would include airlift, logistical and intelligence support.
The Europeans are similarly loath to send troops to Somalia, where a U.N. humanitarian force was withdrawn in 1995 following the deaths of numerous soldiers, including 18 Americans killed in a single battle.
Equally problematic is the reconciliation of Somali clans whose loyalty is distributed among the transitional government, a divided Islamic leadership and myriad other warlords. Western aid pledges are contingent on the warring groups -- with the exception of the Islamic leaders the United States says are harboring al-Qaeda suspects -- agreeing to a political accommodation.
If an international force were to enter the country before a political deal is made, the European diplomat said, it would be seen as supporting only one faction.
 


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