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Somali President Appeals for Peacekeeping Troops

Somalia's newly elected president, Abdulahi Yusuf Ahmed, addressed the special U.N. Security Council meeting in the Kenyan capital Friday, asking the members to provide peacekeeping troops to enable him establish a government in his war torn country.

Somali President Abdulahi Yusuf Ahmed told the special Security Council session that ended Friday his newly elected administration can only establish its authority in Somalia with the help of the international community.

The Somali leader particularly asked the international community for help in making the Somali warlords recognize his government.

"We request the international community to assist us to ensure that these leaders abide by their commitments and national obligations," said Mr. Yusuf. "We have succeeded in bringing a political settlement in the process of establishing the basic institutions, however, the most difficult challenges lay ahead. This new government possesses no trained army or organized bodies or any other security personnel at the moment."

President Ahmed was elected by a transitional parliament in the Kenyan capital last month but a lack of security at home has prevented him from assuming power.

Addressing the same meeting earlier, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said African countries are ready to contribute troops to install the Somali President in office in Mogadishu.

"What we need are troops to assist the transitional government to establish its authority in Somalia. I would propose here the use of African troops," said Mr. Museveni.

President Museveni says African troops are ideal for the mission in Somalia because they are inexpensive and have proved to be effective fighters in the past.

Although members of the Security Council meeting pledged to hold a special session in Oslo to raise funds for the peace process in southern Sudan, the Somali president's plea did not attract any immediate donations.

U.S. Ambassador John Danforth is the current president of the Council. During the session he read the resolution on Somalia, which welcomes the progress made so far.

"The Security Council stresses that it is the responsibility of all Somali parties to work together to consolidate the gains made so far and to achieve further progress," said Mr. Danforth. "The Council calls upon them to seize this historic opportunity for peace in Somalia by developing a program of action and timetable for the transitional period creating a favorable environment for long-term stability in making determined efforts to rebuild the country."

This is the second time the Security Council has met on the African continent. The first such meeting to take place in Africa was at the headquarters of the Organization of African Unity in Addis Ababa in 1972.