UN in Somalia 'by may'

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THE United States yesterday welcomed a plan by Boutros Boutros- Ghali, the United Nations Secretary-General, for a 28,000-strong UN force to take over from the American-led forces in Somalia by 1 May, writes Richard Dowden. The Americans moved into Somalia last December after the UN failed to provide security for food convoys for starving people. Yesterday, however, the UN Special Representative in Somalia, Ismat Kittani, said that the Americans were far from finishing the job of restoring order and called for a tough mandate for the new UN force to disarm factions. 'Disarmament should be given the highest priority,' he said.

Meanwhile the US Ambassador to Sudan, Don Petterson, has called for UN intervention in southern Sudan if peace talks fail. He said the UN should provide security for emergency food to reach thousands facing starvation. Just back from a visit to Sudan, Mr Petterson said: 'The level and kind of suffering and misery is devastating, comparable to Somalia . . . the people are dying and they need all the help they can get. The international community must consider more serious intervention.'