Somali peace saboteurs to face sanctions

NAIROBI, Nov 21, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) -- Regional countries are threatening sanctions against the Somalia's feuding leaders unless they settle a political dispute that threatens to plunge the Horn of Africa nation into further chaos.

Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula confirmed in Nairobi on Friday that the six-nation regional mediation body, the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, this week, resolved to impose sanctions on leaders seen as obstructing the current efforts aimed at stabilizing the war torn nation.

"The region has resolved to sanctions Somali leaders who are not interested in securing peace in their country," Wetangula told a meeting of foreign envoys in Nairobi.

"We are going to sanction each one of them and their families from coming to enjoy the sanctuary of peace in Nairobi, the sanctuary of peace in Ethiopia and any IGAD country when their country is on fire," the minister warned.

During the Addis Ababa meeting, foreign ministers from Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti called for tough sanctions on anyone blocking peace efforts.

"The meeting decides with immediate effect to impose targeted sanctions, including travel bans, freezing of assets among others, against all those in and outside Somalia who have become obstacles to the achievement of peace in Somalia, and calls upon the African Union and the UN Security Council to do the same," the ministers said.

Kenya, one of the seven states forming IGAD, announced it would send a battalion to Somalia to save the transitional government from imminent collapse.

Some 3,000 peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi are in the capital Mogadishu, short of the intended 8,000-strong AU mission.

The ministers also asked the UN Security Council to immediately reiterate its position on Somalia and to announce the targeted sanctions against the Somali militants.

Somalia's neighboring states said they will identify property owned by the groups sponsoring the fighting in Somalia for freezing. The militants and their supporters would also be blocked from traveling out of the country.

Speaking in Nairobi, Wetangula said insecurity in the war torn Somali has been a source of instability in the region and urged the global community to collectively stabilize the country.

The minister said the east African nation further wants the travel ban extended to all IGAD-member countries and eventually to other nations.

"Some Somali leaders have refused even to go back to rebuild their country and wants to enjoy the sanctuary of peace here in Nairobi. This is not going to be tolerated," he said.