NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Somalia’s new president asked the U.N. Security Council, meeting Friday in an extraordinary session in Africa, for financial and political support for a major peacekeeping operation in his anarchic country.

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed did not say what size peacekeeping force he would like, but last month he asked the African Union for 15,000-20,000 troops, which African leaders have signaled they are ready to provide if wealthy nations provide funding.

“This new government possesses no trained army, organized police or any other security personnel,” Yusuf said in his first address to the United Nations since his election as Somalia’s president on Oct. 10.

“We request the council to take the necessary steps to phase in a peace-building mission including the deployment of a stabilization force in Somalia in the most immediate future.”

The council Friday adopted a statement expressing support for the new Somali government.

The last Somali head of state recognized by the U.N. was longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, who was ousted in 1991. Since then, Somalia has been divided into fiefdoms ruled by rival warlords.

“The Security Council reaffirms its support for the commitment of the African Union to assist the transitional process in Somalia, in particular the planning for a mission in Somalia,” the council’s statement said.

The council also encouraged countries to support Somali efforts impose stability and to assist in the country’s reconstruction.

Five council members – the United States, Britain, Russia, Brazil and Spain – voiced caution on how to proceed in assisting Yusuf’s soon-to-be-formed government, suggesting that Somalis themselves must demonstrate a commitment to the new government.

“The precondition to the deployment of a large force is that a degree of stability has to be established,” said Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, speaking for the other four countries. “There should not be confrontation, but cooperation.”

Yusuf and the 275-member transitional parliament sit in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, because it is not safe enough to go to Somalia. Yusuf chose a prime minister earlier this month who is expected to name a Cabinet in the coming weeks. Regional leaders have said they expect a new Somali government to return to Somalia by year’s end.

Thirteen previous peace efforts formed two governments that failed because they never managed to take effective control of the country.

AP-ES-11-19-04 1144EST



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