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UN Chief Calls for Global Support for Somalia's Government

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon urged the world community Saturday to support Somalia's government in its effort to restore peace in the chaotic country.

Mr. Ban told a U.N. security conference in Turkey that Somalia is one of the greatest crisis regions in the world. He said the transitional federal government represents Somalia's best chance to escape the endless cycle of war and humanitarian disaster.

The government of President Sharif Sheik Ahmed, set up last year, controls only a small area of Mogadishu with the help of African Union troops. Much of the country is controlled by Islamist rebels.

The U.N. secretary-general also urged Somali authorities to demonstrate the will to resolve their internal disputes and unite in fighting the threat of extremism.

The U.N. conference in Istanbul is exploring ways to combat piracy off the Somali coast.

Poverty and political turmoil in Somalia have been turning a growing number of Somalis to piracy, which has driven up shipping and food prices, and added to the humanitarian crisis in Somalia.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.