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United Nations Says Somali Mandate Extension Is ‘Disappointing’

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Feb. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The United Nations said it regretted the decision by Somalia’s transitional government to extend its mandate for another three years beyond August.

“This is a disappointing decision taken in haste without the required level of discussion and consultation on how to end the transition,” the UN’s special representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, said in an e-mailed statement today.

Lawmakers in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, yesterday voted to extend the mandate, even after the government failed to enact a new constitution or organize elections for August.

Somalia has been mired in civil war for two decades and hasn’t had a functioning central administration since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. The current government, backed by troops from the African Union, is battling Islamic militants for control of Mogadishu and southern and central Somalia.

“The Somali people deserve and expect to see change,” Mahiga said.

The transitional government should go in August when its mandate expires, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said yesterday.

“We don’t want to create a vacuum, but at the same time we just can’t continue with business as usual,” Steinberg told reporters in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. “We have been disappointed with the performance” of the government.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Sanders at

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