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Tanzania urges Africa to send more troops to Somalia

Sunday June 06, 2010 - 10:51:42 in Latest News by Super Admin
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    Tanzania urges Africa to send more troops to Somalia


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SOMALIA VIOLENCE DARE SALAM (Sunatimes)- Tanzania has appealed to African governments to be ready to dispatch more troops to war-torn Somalia where the security situation is becoming increasingly tense.

"It's chaos. There is neither peace nor security in Somalia; the country is ungovernable... [ellipsis as published] the President of Somalia is asking for support from African governments and international security agencies," Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Bernard Membe said at a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Membe was briefing journalists [on] major international meetings that took place in Turkey (21 to 23 May) and France (30 May to 1 June) at which Tanzania was represented. The meetings discussed a number of global agendas, including those touching on the African continent - peace, security, climate change and drug trafficking, among others.

"At the meeting held in Turkey, the president of Somalia presented a formal request for security support to control insecurity in his country which is largely caused by Islamic extremists and opposition political groups," the minister said.

He said at the coming African Union (AU) meeting scheduled for Kampala next month, African governments that had earlier promised to send security troops to Somalia, would be asked to do so.

Membe mentioned the countries as including Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

He said Tanzania had volunteered to provide security training for 1,000 soldiers from Somalia.

"We are willing and able to train Somalia on security issues as part of our contribution to the troubled country... [ellipsis as published] and during the AU meeting in Kampala, we will be on the frontline in requesting African governments to respect their promises of sending troops to Somalia," said Membe.

During the meeting held in France, he said, African governments pushed their long-term agenda by pressing the United Nations and developed countries to allocate two permanent seats for Africa in the UN Security Council.

"In fact, the meeting was so hot, because apart from pressing for two permanent seats, we also asked developed nations and the UN to incorporate Africa as among the countries with veto powers in the UN Security Council," the minister said.

"Most of the security issues, almost 60 per cent, which are usually discussed and decided by the UN Security Council concerning African insecurity and peacekeeping initiatives," he said, adding: "Therefore, it sounds logical for African countries to have two permanent seats and vote powers in the UN body."

He, however, said that in the course of discussions and debates during the meeting, France rejected African governments' request for two seats in the UN body, and insisted that they should start with one seat.

Membe said France agreed to forward Africa's demands to the concerned UN instruments and the international community.

African countries also demanded to be fully represented in the important meetings of developed countries, especially G20 and G8, saying the current approach of inviting African representatives and leaders to the meetings was inappropriate.

"Both G8 and G20 meetings, amongst other things, discuss a wide range of issues touching on African affairs. But it is surprising to note that African leaders are just picked randomly, some of them are selected to attend the meetings without proper criteria," the minister said.

He added: "That's why we asked them to put up a clear formula to ensure that African leaders are officially and formally recognized as members to these meetings."

Meanwhile, minister Membe said talks between the Tanzania and the new UK government are proceeding over the returning of 28m sterling pounds that was overpriced during the purchase of the controversial military radar.

"We started discussions with the old government of UK... [ellipsis as published] and now are talking with the new government on the returning of our money. Don't worry, journalists," Membe said in response to a question posed by a journalist.

The government of Tanzania had already appointed a team of experts from the ministries of finance and foreign affairs and international cooperation and the Prevention of Corruption and Combating Bureau (PCCB).

The minister assured Tanzanians the money that got lost during the purchasing of the overpriced radar would come back to the country in the course of the current discussions with the UK.

"That's our money... [ellipsis as published] early they wanted to channel the money to charity organizations, but we said no, the money should be returned to the government directly," said the minister.

According to the reports, the controversial military radar was sold by BAE System to Tanzania at an overpriced price of 70bn shillings (28m sterling pounds) - according to the prevailing exchange rate in 2000.

Source: The Guardian

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