World News

Somali parliament needs funding to move to capital

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Lack of funds rather than insecurity has prevented Somalia’s parliament from moving to the capital Mogadishu, where a curfew has been imposed amid a deepening insurgency, a senior official said on Saturday.

The interim government is desperate to establish itself in Mogadishu and boost its legitimacy after being confined to the south-central town of Baidoa since its creation in 2004.

“There is no fear of moving the parliament to Mogadishu, but we are stalling because there is no money for the rebuilding,” parliamentary speaker Sheikh Adan Madobe told a news conference in Nairobi.

He said he expected a national reconciliation meeting to go ahead as planned on July 15, despite being postponed twice because of near-daily insurgent attacks targeting the government and its Ethiopian allies.

“I met the chairman of the reconciliation conference ... who has insisted the conference go ahead on that date,” Madobe said.

“Everything that is needed -- logistically, security, infrastructure -- is now almost complete.”

Despite Madobe’s optimism, there has been no let-up in attacks in the capital, where Islamist fighters have waged an Iraq-style insurgency since New Year. Their leaders -- who briefly controlled much of southern Somalia -- were ousted then by allied Somali-Ethiopian forces.

Madobe was speaking before a trip to Cairo, where he was expected to meet Arab League representatives to boost diplomatic ties between Somalia and the Arab world.