From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Wed Nov 26 2008 - 07:52:48 EST
Somali unity-deal signed in Djibouti
Wed, 26 Nov 2008 11:23:17 GMT
The parties agreed to extend the Transitional Government's term to 3 years
Somalia's government has signed a power-sharing deal with an opposition group, the Alliance for Re-liberation of Somalia, in Djibouti.
The agreement signed on Wednesday will see the formation of a unity government and the expansion of the Somali parliament from the current 275 members to 550.
According to the deal 200 of the new seats will be filled by the Somali opposition and the other 75 will be taken by members of Somalia's civil society.
The parties also agreed to extend the Transitional Federal Government's term -- which expires early next year -- to three years.
Only than the Somali parliament will elect fresh the president, the Prime Minister and the national speaker for parliament.
The man behind the signed deal, UN special Representative to Somalia, Ahmed Ould-Abdallah is optimistic that the Somali leaders will work together to end the conflict.
"We hope that the concerted efforts made here and the momentum gained in these last few days continue so that the new year sees Somali leaders working together, wholeheartedly and committed to the dignity of Somali people," Ould-Abdallah said in a statement.
However analysts believe that the Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed may not agree to this new arrangement since it will signify his early exit from office.
If this agreement is implemented, the Somali parliament will be the largest parliament in the world.
Pirates want $2m for Yemeni freighter
Wed, 26 Nov 2008 00:32:11 GMT
US Navy picture shows Somali pirates
Somali pirates have asked for a ransom of two million dollars for the release of a Yemeni cargo ship they seized last week, Yemeni officials say.
"The pirates are demanding a ransom of two million dollars," said one official on Tuesday.
Yemen's Interior Ministry said on Monday that the ship, Adina, was hijacked by the pirates in the Arabian Sea.
Since the start of this year, the pirates have carried out around 100 attacks in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.
They still hold 17 ships and over 250 crewmen, including the Iranian-chartered Delight, captured last week with 25 crewmen and 36,000 tons of wheat on board, and the Saudi Arabian supertanker MV Sirius Star, along with its $100 million of oil and 25 crewmen.
Iran has warned that it may resort to force to liberate the Delight, which was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia.
The pirates have also demanded 25 million dollars for the release of the Saudi supertanker.
Mohammed Said, the leader of the group holding the Sirius Star, told AFP that talks were ongoing.
"The negotiations with the owners of the tanker continue. I hope they understand the situation," the pirate said.
Somali parliament member resigns
Wed, 26 Nov 2008 09:36:37 GMT
Thousands of Somalis have been killed and displaced in Africa's worst crisis.
A senior member of Somali parliament has resigned in reaction to the increased human rights violations in the conflict-torn nation.
"I don't want to be a member of a government that is responsible for great inhuman actions against civilians," Justice Minister Hassan Dhimbil Warsame told reporters in a news conference on Tuesday.
The lawmaker also added that he regrets wasting away four years serving the country's dysfunctional transitional government, and asked God and the Somali people for forgiveness, Press TV correspondent in Somalia reported.
Somalia has been without an effective central government since president Siad Barre was overthrown in 1991.
Violence is now at its worst level in the conflict-torn nation, with hundreds of civilians killed and thousands more forced to leave their homes, sparking Africa's worst humanitarian crisis.
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