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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

EU puts pressure on Somali leaders

The European Union revealed that its foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, was in Somalia to meet with the country's new political leaders.

Somalia is putting the finishing touches on an administration that formally ends the country's political transition period. The United Nations welcomed the adoption of a draft constitution and the appointment of some members of Parliament.

The European Union announced Ashton met with Somali leaders this week as well as members of the African Union-U.N. peacekeeping force.

"The ending of Somalia's transition will bring with it the prospect of lasting peace, prosperity and stability for the country and for the millions of people who have suffered from 20 years of conflict," she said in a statement after her trip.

The European Union is the largest contributor of financial aid to Somalia, committing more than $1.25 billion through 2013.

Ashton said it was "essential" that Somali leaders act quickly to put the finishing touches on the new federal administration.

"I urge Somali leaders to act swiftly, decisively with integrity and in the interests of the Somali people," she said.

There hasn't been a formal government in Somalia since 1991. The leadership in Mogadishu struggles to exert its authority beyond the capital in the face of threats from al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida ally in control of parts of the country.

Source: UPI

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