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Somalia’s Government Says It Opposes United Nations-Backed Talks in Kenya

yariisowMogadishu: Somalia’s government Said it opposes a planned United



Nations-backed meeting in Neighboring Kenya that will discuss



The country’s political situation. Two Days of discussions that begin



Tomorrow in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, are being held to “reconcile” differences between members of Somalia’s transitional government and its partners, according to the UN Political Office for Somalia.

“We believe that this meeting is an obstacle to the Somali government’s efforts and developments” to stabilize Somalia, Abdirahman Omar Osman, a spokesman for the government, said by phone today from Mogadishu, the capital. “Every consultative or reconciliation meeting should be held in Somalia, not foreign states.”

Somalia’s transitional federal government last month extended its mandate by one year to August 2012 to ensure it has time to finish off a war with Islamic insurgents and set up a stable system of governance, Agence France-Presse said on April 1, citing Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

The U.S. and UN have called for Somalia’s transitional government to step aside as originally planned this August. The replacement administration should focus on making the country more self-sufficient, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said on Feb. 3. The country will miss an August target to enact a new constitution that would have paved the way for elections, Augustine Mahiga, the UN’s representative for Somalia, said in January.

‘Congenial Atmosphere’

The talks are taking place in Nairobi to create a “congenial atmosphere” and for logistical reasons because of the insecurity in Mogadishu and lack of accommodation, Mahiga said in an interview today in Nairobi.

Somalia has been mired in civil war for two decades and hasn’t had a functioning central government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. The current government, backed in Mogadishu by about 9,000 African Union troops, is battling Islamic militants for control of the city, as well as southern and central Somalia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hamsa Omar in Mogadishu via Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net; Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at  smcgregor5@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.


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