The UN Security Council on Wednesday unanimously adopted a US-drafted resolution assigning a regional peacekeeping force to protect Somalia's government against an increasingly powerful Islamic militia.
The resolution, co-sponsored by the United States and African states Congo, Ghana and Tanzania, also eased the 1992 arms embargo on Somalia to facilitate deployment of the peacekeeping force.
It authorized the 7-nation Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an east African group, and the African Union to establish "a protection and training mission in Somalia" for an initial six-month period.
The regional force would monitor bilateral progress in implementing common agreements, protect transitional government members and key infrastructures as well as training government forces.
The text further urges Somalia's transitional government and the Islamist faction to resume peace talks quickly following the Khartoum agreements.
The resolution also warned of Security Council action against those seeking to impair the peace process or attempts to overthrow the government by force.
Somalia has had no executive governing authority since the 1991 ousting of strongman Mohamed Siad Barre and the two-year-old transitional government has proved too weak to control the war-torn nation of about 10 million people.
The lack of progress in peace talks, which collapsed last month, between the government and the Union of Islamic Courts, which controls the capital, Mogadishu, has mounted concerns of the international community.
(Xinhua News Agency December 7, 2006)