The United States will push for an initiative to send more peacekeeping forces to the war-torn Somalia after Ethiopia on Friday announced it would withdraw forces by the end of the year.
The withdrawal will leave a security vacuum in Somalia, which has been suffering from frequent attacks on security forces, civilians and foreigners for almost two years.
Somalia has not had a stable government since 1991.
Islamists briefly took over the capital and other areas in the center and south of the country for several months in 2006 before they were ousted by Somali and Ethiopian armed forces in early 2007.
Since then, Islamist rebels have regrouped and are waging almost daily attacks.
Ethiopian troops have been deployed in Somalia in an effort to maintain security.
The Islamists want to drive out the Ethiopian forces and topple the interim government.
There is also an African Union force based in Somalia but it falls short of the 8,000 peacekeepers originally planned, as fewer than half of that number is currently deployed there.
In addition to the security situation, Somalia is also suffering from soaring inflation caused by the global food crisis and a plague of counterfeit money planted into Somalia’s currency circulation.
Droughts and floods have devastated crops in Somalia, and a spate of piracy off Somalia’s coasts is hindering supply of aid, further compounding the humanitarian situation there.
The United Nation Security Council has said it will consider sending a peacekeeping force to Somalia, if Mogadishu can achieve political reconciliation and improve its security. The U.S. said on Friday it was supporting this proposal.
Washington is concerned Somalia is being used as a breeding ground for terrorists linked to Al-Qa’ida.
Gordon Duguid, a U.S. State Department spokesman, said the U.S. was working with Ethiopia and other countries in the region to ensure Somalia’s stability. The U.S. has said it would help prepare a U.N. resolution on the matter.
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