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UN Considering End to Arms Embargo, Peacekeepers for Somalia


The United Nations Security Council is considering requests to lift an arms embargo on Somalia, and allow African peacekeepers into the country.

The world body's special representative to Somalia, Francois Fall, spoke to reporters after briefing Security Council members, Tuesday.

Fall noted that Islamists who rule Somalia's capital oppose foreign peacekeepers, but he said this does not make it impossible for a force to go in.

He said the African Union and a bloc of East African nations, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, requested that the arms embargo be lifted to allow for a possible peacekeeping deployment.

He said the Africans also want to let Somalia's U.N.-backed transitional government to form its own army.

Fall said secular warlords who fought Islamic forces for control of the capital were no longer a significant force. He estimated that Islamists control 95 percent of Mogadishu, and 18 percent of Somalia.

On Tuesday, fighters loyal to the lone holdout member of a warlord alliance surrendered to Islamic forces in the capital.