From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sat Nov 29 2008 - 18:29:55 EST
Somalia urges filling Ethiopia vacuum
Sat, 29 Nov 2008 18:43:26 GMT
PM Nur Hassan Hussein has urged international assistance after the Ethiopian withdrawal.
Mogadishu urges a replacement for the Ethiopian soldiers who are due to quit Somalia leaving its embattled administration to sink or swim.
On Saturday, the Somali prime minister and a senior opposition leader unanimously urged that the vacancy be filled by the international community.
Premier Nur Hassan Hussein warned of the consequences should the security gap not be attended to.
"There is a great danger the situation may turn into chaos," Reuters quoted him as saying.
Ethiopian soldiers, due withdrawal by the end of the year, entered Somalia in 2006 to assist the country's beleaguered transitional government against uncompromising oppositionists, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC).
Currently based in Asmara, Eritrea, the group regularly involves its gunmen, Al-Shabaab, in fights with the Ethiopians.
Al-Shabaab fighters displaying their skills to the locals
"We need also the stabilization force to be brought to Somalia," said Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the leader of the Djibouti-based Somali opposition, the Alliance for Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).
Sheikh Sharif's remarks marked a considerable shift in the stance of the opposition who had until before objected to deployment of foreign troops.
"To those African countries that want to bring their own forces, we are telling you: You are welcome," he noted.
Earlier in the month, however, the UIC leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys dissociated his devotees from those of the rivaling camps saying "these men (Sheikh Sharif's faction) have joined the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) who were fighting us. They signed an agreement with them. We still stick to our position, we stick to fighting."
"I understand that Kenya is planning to deploy up to Kismayu town (in southern Somalia). Kenya should not burn the thatched house that it is living in," he had noted.
'Opposition to have more say in Somalia'
Sat, 29 Nov 2008 19:39:47 GMT
Opposition leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed
Senior Somali opposition leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed says they are going to have more seats in the evolving parliament.
Sharif announced the likelihood of greater opposition say in the future parliament which, he claimed, is going to be comprised of 550 seats, the Press TV correspondent in Somalia reported.
He also raised the possibility of constitutional reforms.
The opposition and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) have been holding talks aimed at formation of a national-unity government.
The negotiations recently yielded a power-sharing pact.
The opposition faction based in Asmara, Eritrea, the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), however, opposes the idea vowing to resist compromise.
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