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Personal rivalries thwart efforts to reconstruct Somali government, bishop says

Catholic World News - September 22, 2010

Personal conflicts are frustrating an international effort to give Somalia its first effective national government in nearly 20 years, reports Bishop Giorgio Bertin, the apostolic administrator of Mogadishu.

Personal ambitions and rivalries for control of resources donated by the international community are behind the resignation of the prime minister," Bishop Bertin told the Fides news service, after the head of the Transitional National Government, Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke, announced on September 21 that he was stepping down. The Transitional National Government has been struggling for months to assert its authority over the country, with help from international organizations. But Islamic forces and tribal warlords still control most of the territory.

The latest crisis for the Transitional National Government came because of sharp personal disagreements among its leading officials, Bishop Bertin said. But he added that the effort to form a new government—when in fact the government controls only portions of Mogadishu, the capital city—have consistently failed.

The apostolic administrator suggested that this failure reflects the fact that the government relies on outside forces for its support, instead of building up credibility among the people of Somalia. "It is a system that is based solely on international aid, but that is not able to meet the real needs of Somalia," he said.

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