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Praise and warnings sent to Somali leaders

Aug. 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. government reminds Somali leaders of their responsibility to work in a fair and transparent fashion, a presidential spokesman said.

The White House commended the people and leaders of Somalia for convening a federal Parliament. The mandate for the interim government in Somalia ended Monday with the swearing in of members of the legislative assembly.

U.N. officials had warned Somali leaders against corruption in the selection of its new legislative body, a sentiment echoed by the White House.

"Any attempt to impede the political transition will not be tolerated," a statement read. "All parties must work in a fair and transparent manner and will be held accountable for any failure to do so."

There hasn't been a formal central government in Somalia since 1991. The interim administration has struggled to exert its authority beyond Mogadishu as it tackles a lingering threat from al-Qaida affiliate al-Shabaab.

Lawmakers must now work on filling all seats in the federal assembly and hold elections for Parliament speaker and president.

"I urge all parties to finish what they have started within the next few days," British Foreign Minister for Africa Alistair Burt said in a statement. "Appoint the remaining parliamentarians quickly, fulfill the quotas for women and appoint a speaker and president as soon as possible."

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