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China calls for increased UN role in Somalia
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China has called for increased UN participation in volatile Somalia as Ethiopian troops started pulling out of the Horn of African country.

Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told reporters in Entebbe that while the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is playing a great peacekeeping role in the country, it is facing tremendous challenges.

"We believe that the UN system should do more there, there should be more inputs from the UN," said Yang who is currently on a two-day official visit to Uganda, the first leg of his six-nation tour.

The AMISOM has only deployed 3,000 troops, from Uganda and Burundi, of the required 8,000 peacekeepers in Somalia.

Yang said China and Uganda which is a new non-permanent member of the UN Security Council will carry out consultation both at the Council and other international forums so that a bigger role is played in pacifying Somalia.

"We believe the international community has to pay more attention to the peace process in Somalia and there should be more concerns and inputs," he said.

He said there are political, economic and social issues in Somalia that have to be solved if the country is to stabilize.

The statement comes as Ethiopian troops on Tuesday handed over the security of the country to the Somali transitional government.

(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2009)

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