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Last Updated: Monday, 25 October, 2004, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Somalia seeking AU peacekeepers
Somali woman at the ceremony
Somalis are desperate for peace after 13 years of war
Somalia's newly elected president is meeting the African Union's Peace and Security Council to discuss details of a peacekeeping mission for Somalia.

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed has asked the AU to send 20,000 peacekeepers to help make Somalia secure and disarm militias.

He also made an appeal for peacekeepers at his swearing-in ceremony last week.

A senior AU official said it would send a fact-finding mission to Somalia before responding to the appeal.

Abdullahi Yusuf formally made his request on Saturday to the chairman of the AU, Alpha Oumar Konare.

"The president has formally asked the AU for a 20,000-strong peacekeeping force to help in collecting millions of small arms known to be owned by the Somali people," AU spokesman Adam Thiam said.

SOMALI CHALLENGES
Lawlessness rife since collapse of military government in 1991
Self-proclaimed states of Somaliland and Puntland run their own affairs
Transitional parliament sworn in August 2004 as part of reconciliation process
The European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who recently visited Addis Ababa, said the EU would consider helping to train Somali security forces.

"We would like to participate in the stabilisation of the country," Mr Solana said, Reuters news agency reported.

Abdullahi Yusuf was elected as Somalia's president after almost two years of stop-start talks held in neighbouring Kenya because of insecurity at home.

The Horn of Africa country has been divided into fiefdoms ruled by rival warlords since 1991, when longtime ruler Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted.

The insecurity has prevented the president and the new Somali transitional government from installing themselves in the capital, Mogadishu.


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Why Somalia has asked for help



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