Somalia parliament opens

SOMALIA'S transitional parliament began its first session inside the country yesterday - 19 months after it was formed in neighbouring Kenya.

The 205 MPs gathered in a grain silo turned into a temporary seat of parliament in the southern Somali town of Baidoa, using chairs and desks transported from Kenya by the United Nations.

The 275-member transitional legislature, which includes the president, Abdullahi Yusuf, and the prime minister, Ali Mohamed Gedi, last met in May in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

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The assembly's first meeting inside the country had been delayed by arguments over where it should take place, and there were disputes over whether peacekeepers were needed to provide security for the government's return to Somalia.