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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 February, 2005, 13:47 GMT
Exiled PM's Somalia visit delayed
Exiled Somali Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Ghedi
Mr Ghedi is due to spend over a week in the country
Difficulties in securing the right type of aircraft have delayed the planned visit to Somalia of the prime minister in exile, Mohammed Ali Ghedi.

He was due to begin a 10-day tour on Wednesday as he prepares to relocate the government from their temporary home in neighbouring Kenya.

Considerable divisions remain within the cabinet about whether they can base themselves in the unstable capital.

Somalia has been without an effective government since 1991.

Since then, rival warlords, many of whom are now ministers, have battled for control of the country, and Somalia has been divided into a patchwork of fiefdoms.

The BBC's East Africa correspondent Ishbel Matheson says that as delays in relocating the government drag on, so doubts are growing about the ability of President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed to unite the country.

Several visits have been aborted in the past, usually blamed on general insecurity, especially in Mogadishu.

This time, officials said that short runways in some parts of the country meant they may need to find different aircraft.

"There are generally fears about air safety," an official told AFP news agency.


Mr Ghedi has said the speed of the move to Somalia depends on how soon donors meet a six-month relocation budget of $77m. Only about $8m has been received so far.
Facts and figures about life in Somalia

According to the United Nations, most of that money will be spent on setting up a new national police force to establish law and order in a country accustomed to anarchy.

Another portion will be for the disarmament of Somalia's notorious militia and over $1m is budgeted for the cost of moving 275 Somali MPs from Kenya back home.

Some ministers have already visited Mogadishu and other areas of their country.

They have discussed the controversial deployment of foreign peacekeeping soldiers to Somalia.

Mr Ghedi has insisted that foreign troops be present on the ground to create secure conditions for the new government.

The African Union has authorised the deployment of thousands of troops from several regional countries to help with the relocation.

But Ethiopia's offer to send troops as part of the force has sparked large demonstrations in Mogadishu.


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