Somalia's new president has asked the African Union to send 20,000 peacekeepers to disarm militias in his lawless country.


An African Union spokesman says President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed made the request to the chairman of the AU commission during a meeting Saturday in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa.


Also present was the European Union's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, who said the EU is ready to provide assistance to help rebuild Somalia.


Mr. Yusuf was elected president this month by Somali faction leaders following nearly two years of peace talks.


During his swearing-in, Mr. Yusuf appealed for international peacekeepers to be sent to Somalia.  The country has lacked a central government for more than 13 years. 


Mr. Yusuf is based in Kenya because of security concerns in Somalia.


Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.