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UN Chief Urges 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. The U.N. chief spoke at a UN-sponsored conference in Turkey that is addressing security issues in the warn-torn country.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told a U.N. security conference in Turkey that Somalia is one of the greatest crisis regions in the world -- with the
the international community so far having spent more than $8 billion in aid to the country.

Mr. Ban expressed the need to back up the Somalia's government. "The transitional federal government represents Somalia's best chance in years to escape from the endless cycle of war and humanitarian disaster," he said.

The transitional federal 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 conference also explored ways to combat piracy off the Somali coast.

With the on going piracy threat, Mr. Ban welcomed the creation of an international trust fund to pay for anti-piracy efforts. The message of UN secretary general was that with the piracy threat it was in everyone's interest that peace return to Somalia. "Our collect aim is to defeat the cycle of lawlessness violence and despair in Somalia and build in its place a peaceful and prosperous future for the country and region. The dire conditions on land open the way for surge in piracy at sea," he said.

The conference follows political turmoil in Somalia, where President Ahmed fired Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke earlier this week before reversing his decision on Thursday. He explained that the state of the country required unity among its leaders.