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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 February, 2005, 17:02 GMT
Somali warlords veto troops plan
President Yusuf Ahmed (left) and Prime Minister Ghedi
The statement is a setback to the government's plans
A group of Somali cabinet ministers and MPs has denounced government proposals to deploy foreign peacekeepers.

They issued a statement saying troops from neighbouring Ethiopia and Djibouti would not be acceptable.

The move came as exiled President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed continued his tour of Somalia, as part of plans to relocate the government from Kenya.

A BBC analyst describes the signatories - who all have militia support - as Mogadishu's best-known warlords.

Among those who signed the statement - issued after talks in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi - was Hussein Mohammed Aideed, a deputy prime minister.

Also on the list were Security Minister Mohammed Qanyare Afrah and Trade Minister Musa Sudi Yalahow.

Rival fiefdoms

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.

President Yusuf Ahmed, who has been in Somalia since Thursday, has repeatedly insisted during his visit that peacekeeping troops from neighbouring countries should be deployed - and he says that most Somalis support the idea.

But the BBC's Grant Ferrett says that without the warlords' support, there is little prospect that the deployment can go ahead.

Ethiopia, in particular, has long been viewed with suspicion by many Somali faction leaders, he says.

Five months after the president took office, he has yet to visit Mogadishu and the government remains in Nairobi.

The longer it stays there, the more divided it appears, our analyst says.


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