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US Circulating Resolution for Somalia UN Force


The United States is circulating a draft Security Council resolution that would call for a U.N. peacekeeping force in Somalia.

The Associated Press says the draft would renew the mandate of African Union peacekeepers currently in Somalia, but eventually replace them with a stronger international force. The draft calls for a council decision by June first.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said last month he had asked at least 50 countries to support a multinational force in Somalia, but the responses were "very lukewarm or negative."

Heavy fighting continued in Somalia Monday, with witnesses reporting at least 11 dead in clashes between Islamist insurgents and Ethiopian-backed government forces.

Government troops shelled Mogadishu's busy Bakara market after al-Shabab insurgents fired mortars on the presidential palace.

Emergency medical teams report seeing at least eight bodies in the streets near the market. The others were killed in a nearby neighborhood.

Ethiopia plans to bring home troops sent to support the Somali government by the end of the week. Somali leaders say the pullout could endanger the government and spark increased fighting among Islamist insurgents.

Ethiopia sent thousands of troops into Somalia in late 2006 to help the government oust an Islamist movement that had seized control over Mogadishu and other cities.

The offensive succeeded but sparked a two-year Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands of Somalis and displaced more than a million others.

The Islamists have seized control of many towns in recent weeks but appear split over the level of Islamic law that should be enforced. Al-Shabab favors a strict form of sharia that many Somalis oppose.

The United States is circulating a draft Security Council resolution that would call for a U.N. peacekeeping force in Somalia by June 1.

The Associated Press says the draft would renew the mandate of African Union peacekeepers currently in Somalia, but eventually replace them with a stronger international force.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said last month he had asked at least 50 countries to support a multinational force in Somalia, but the responses were "very lukewarm or negative."

Heavy fighting continued in Somalia Monday, with witnesses reporting at least 11 dead in clashes between Islamist insurgents and Ethiopian-backed government forces.

Government troops shelled Mogadishu's busy Bakara market after al-Shabab insurgents fired mortars on the presidential palace.

Emergency medical teams report seeing at least eight bodies in the streets near the market. The others were killed in a nearby neighborhood.

Ethiopia plans to bring home troops sent to support the Somali government by the end of the week. Somali leaders say the pullout could endanger the government and spark increased fighting among Islamist insurgents.

Ethiopia sent thousands of troops into Somalia in late 2006 to help the government oust an Islamist movement that had seized control over Mogadishu and other cities.

The offensive succeeded but sparked a two-year Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands of Somalis and displaced more than a million others.

The Islamists have seized control of many towns in recent weeks but appear split over the level of Islamic law that should be enforced. Al-Shabab favors a strict form of sharia that many Somalis oppose.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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