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Somali Government Should Extend for Another Year, Says President Museveni

The Somali government should have its mandate extended for another year; Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni told international dignitaries and Somali leaders attending a two-day meeting in Kampala.

The Uganda leader said such extension will help the government maintain recent gains made against Al-Shabab militant group. The Somali leadership has disagreed over the extension of the current government which expires in 2 ½ months time.

Mr Museveni was speaking at the opening of the 19th meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG) on Somalia which commenced today in Kampala, Uganda. This assembly is scheduled to last through tomorrow, Friday, June 3.

The current president of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, and the speaker of the parliament, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam, were present at the opening of the meeting this morning. The president of Puntland, Abdurrahman Sheikh Mohamoud Farole, and the Galmudug state leader, Ahmed Mohammed Alim, also attended today’s meetings.

Members of the ICG and Somali representatives from the TFG, Puntland, and Galmudug will discuss recent events that have taken place in Somalia. They will also discuss the future of the Somali government in light of the TFG’s impending end in August 2011.

The ICG is set to issue a write-up on the discussions, particularly the political outcome of the meeting.

President Yoweri Museveni has already presented a statement of continued support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The ICG, comprised of representatives from 46 countries and international bodies, strives to follow Somalia conflict close and help Somalis find a solution for the 20-year long civil strife.

The ICG for Somalia was established in 2006 by the United States to address the deadly conflict and political instability in Somalia. The United States is concerned about the rise of the al-Qaida linked terror group al-Shabab which is responsible for the ongoing war against the internationally recognized Somali government.

Other participants of the meeting in Kampala expressed sentiment of frustration with the in-fighting among current Somali leadership.