Somali Leaders Meet to Chart Country’s Political Future

Posted September 4th, 2011 at 12:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Somali leaders have opened a conference to discuss the shape of the troubled country's next government.

The U.N.-sponsored meeting began Sunday under tight security at the Somali parliament building in war-ravaged Mogadishu.

President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said participants should focus on how to end the country's “transitional period.” Items on the agenda include improving security, promoting reconciliation, and drawing up a new constitution.

Somalia's Transitional Federal Government, or TFG, has been in existence since 2004 but has made little progress at ending two decades of civil war and lawlessness in the country.

The government has battled drought, piracy on the coast, and a persistent Islamist insurgency

The TFG did score a success last month when government troops and African Union peacekeepers forced militant group al-Shabab to pull its fighters from the capital, Mogadishu. But al-Shabab still controls much of southern and central Somalia.