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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 July, 2003, 14:26 GMT 15:26 UK
Kenya names Somali envoy
Delegates at Somali peace talks
The Somali peace talks are supposed to set up a new government this year
President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya has appointed an ambassador to Somalia for the first time in 13 years since anarchy and civil war engulfed the country.

The appointment of Mohammed Affey, former Kenyan foreign affairs assistant minister, has been well received at the ongoing Somali talks at Mbagathi College in Nairobi.

Delegates at the talks say that this is the first step of international recognition of the new power-sharing Somali Government, which they hope to form before the end of the year.

The BBC's Mogadishu reporter, Hassan Barise, says that the Somalis are delighted with the appointment because Mr Affey understands their culture, religion and language.

He is a member of Kenya's ethnic Somali minority.


However, the ambassador will coordinate affairs between the two countries from Nairobi due to continuing insecurity in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, the statement from Kenya's foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Italian special envoy to Somalia, Carlo Ungaro told our reporter that the African Union (AU) has been meeting in Addis Ababa to put together a force that will help disarm and demobilise the various militia groups in Mogadishu.

Mr Ungaro said that the European Union (EU) has pledged financial support to meet the cost of the deployment of the AU force.

Kenya, like many other nations, closed its embassy in Mogadishu in 1990 when factional fighting erupted there.

The fighting led to the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and the country plunged into anarchy and disintegrated into clan wars.

Somalia's remaining international relations were strained to the limit after the slaughter of UN peacekeepers in Mogadishu and the killing of 18 United States special forces in 1993.

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