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Somalia to Ask UN for International Peacekeepers


Somalia's foreign minister says his government will ask the U.N. Security Council to send a multi-national force to his country to take over from African Union peacekeepers who are currently trying to help bring stability to Somalia. From United Nations headquarters in New York, VOA's Margaret Besheer has more.

Ali Ahmed Jama told reporters at the United Nations Tuesday that his government will use this week's two-day meeting at U.N. headquarters of African leaders and Security Council member states to press for an international force to take over security in Somalia.

"We hope the Security Council would take meaningful steps to assume its responsibility and engage and replace the African Union force there with a U.N. force," he said. "This is the proposal we are going to make to the U.N. Security Council."

The current African Union force, known as AMISOM, is made up of about 2,300 troops from Uganda and Burundi.

Jama said his government is asking the United Nations to fill the security vacuum which is now being filled by a combination of Somali security forces, AMISOM and some troops from neighboring Ethiopia.

The foreign minister said his government believes it can find strong international support for U.N. engagement in Somalia.

But some members of the international community and the U.N. secretariat have expressed concerns about a possible peacekeeping force being deployed to Somalia, saying there is no peace to keep.

In a report to the Security Council last month, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon outlined four scenarios for possible future developments in Somalia. They ranged from increasing U.N. personnel in parts of Somalia to the possible deployment of more than 28,000 U.N. peacekeepers - but only if certain political and security conditions were met on the ground.

African leaders and U.N. Security Council members will be holding high-level discussions this week on increasing security cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union.

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