From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sat Feb 21 2009 - 19:05:46 EST
UIC wins key Somali cabinet posts
Sat, 21 Feb 2009 08:35:30 GMT
Newly-appointed Somali Premier Omar Abdirashid Shermarke has named former
opposition and interim gov't officials in the new cabinet posts.
Most of the ministers named on Friday to run the 35-member Somali Government
of National Unity are close allies of Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, a former
leader of the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) who was
elected president in a vote by Somali lawmakers in February.
In the new cabinet Abdulkadir Ali Omar, the deputy chairman of the Union of
Islamic Courts (UIC) will take the post of interior minister while defense
ministry will go to Mohamed Abdi Ghandi, Press TV correspondent reported.
The others include Mohamed Abdullahi Omar, a brother to Al Jazeera's
award-winning journalist Rageh Omar, as foreign minister, former parliament
speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan as deputy prime minister and finance
minister. The minister for internal security is Omar Hashi Aden, a former
colonel and chairman of the joint security committee of the ARS.
The selection took place in neighboring Djibouti, where the new government
is temporarily based, and as expected left out warlords.
The new Somali government is set to be sworn in on Saturday and its plans
for the next three months --expected to be handed in within 24 hours after
the selection-- will been discussed in the Somali parliament before it
relocates to Mogadishu.
The country's new president, who enjoys full support from Somali clerics, is
to bring together feuding armed groups and restore peace in the Horn of
Africa nation which has been the scene of violence and bloodshed since the
beginning of a struggle over power following a coup that ousted President
Mohamed Siad Barre in 1990.
On Friday, the UN Secretary General's Special Representative, Ahmedou
Ould-Abdallah hailed the announcement of the new Somali cabinet, calling
Sharmarke's ruling team "a healthy combination of experience and youth".
He welcomed the prime minister's Government of National Unity to be in
accordance with the 2008 UN-facilitated Djibouti Agreement between the
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and ARS, aimed to end their conflict.
"It is encouraging to see members of the original Transitional Federal
Government alongside some fresh faces from what was the Alliance for the
Re-Liberation of Somalia," Ould-Abdallah said in a news release.
He also called on elders and religious leaders to use their influence to
stop the violence and help restoration of stability.
AU Somali mission rejects withdrawal calls
Sat, 21 Feb 2009 14:55:45 GMT
The African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia has rejected clerics'
proposal for the withdrawal of foreign troops within 120 days.
Maj. Barigiye Bahoku, spokesman for the AMISOM forces in Mogadishu, said
Saturday that the calls were unreasonable since the newly-formed unity
government would be in need of support, a Press TV correspondent reported.
"AMISOM troops will be sent back to their countries once the country is
stable. But not now," Bahoku said.
However, the spokesman urged the militants to heed Somali clerics' calls for
a stop to the attack against the peacekeepers in the capital of Mogadishu.
His remarks came at the backdrop of a fresh wave of attacks targeting
soldiers' bases in Mogadishu.
At least one civilian was killed and three others were wounded on Friday
after AMISOM troops and insurgents exchanged heavy gunfire following an
ambush on their base in the conflict-torn capital.
Separately, a roadside bomb exploded next to an AU military convoy at a
check point in south Mogadishu. The army vehicle was destroyed but no
casualties were reported.
The peacekeeper's mission ends this month. The African Union on Monday
decided to extend the mandate for the 34,000 strong force by another two
months, reports said.
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