First Published: 2005-02-15

 
Somali government-in-exile might delay return
 

Somali PM hints at delay in government move from exile pending hearing from fact-finding missions.

 

Middle East Online

By Otto Bakano - NAIROBI

21 February return date may not be met

Somalia's transitional Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Gedi hinted Tuesday that his government-in-exile might not meet a planned target date next week to begin relocating to the war-shattered nation.

Gedi, who last week had said the government would begin moving from Nairobi to the lawless Somali capital of Mogadishu on February 21, said it needed first to hear from three more cabinet-level fact-finding missions.

He said the new missions, which will come on top of two earlier visits to assess security in Mogadishu, would depart for Somalia on Wednesday but would not be able to prepare reports until later in the month.

"We will receive their findings and recommendations and before the end of this month we will start the process of relocation of the government," Gedi told reporters after meeting Kenyan Foreign Minister Ali Chirau Mwakwere.

But he did not repeat the February 21 target date.

The earlier missions - made up of Somali lawmakers and ministers - were greeted warmly in Mogadishu but security fears soared last week after the murder of a western journalist in the capital.

In addition, thousands of Somalis took to the streets of Mogadishu on Monday to protest at the composition of a planned African Union-authorized regional peacekeeping force intended to help the government establish itself.

The demonstration took place just hours before a 14-member African Union security assessment team arrived in Mogadishu on a 10-to-12 day visit to study logistics for the deployment.

Some 3,000 demonstrators expressed their adamant opposition to the inclusion of troops from Ethiopia, Djibouti, and, to a lesser degree, Kenya, in the force which initially is to be run by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an east African grouping.

Many Somalis accuse Ethiopia in particular of fomenting instability in their country and have demanded that any force exclude Ethiopian troops. Others, including some hardline Islamists, are opposed to any foreign troops.

Gedi, however, declined to comment on the controversy, noting that the transitional government had requested troops from the African Union and Arab League for support.

"We are not interested in reacting to allegations," he said. "My government has requested the African Union force and the League of Arab States and they have responded to our request to deploy forces for stabilisation and the peace support mission to Somalia."

In addition to the controversy over the force, Gedi has stressed that the speed with which the government moves to Somalia would depend heavily on outside assistance that to date has not been forthcoming.

The relocation plan includes an initial six-month budget of about 77.3 million dollars (59.5 million euros) for relocation and logistics, creating administrative offices, disarming and demobilizing militias and setting up a police force.

Of that, only about eight million dollars (6.1 million euros) had been contributed by donors as of February 9, according to the transitional government.

Somalia was plunged into chaos after the fall of President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Gedi's transitional government was set up in October in a bid to restore a functioning central government in the war-wracked nation.

But the administration - including a president, government and parliament - have remained in exile in Kenya since for security reasons.

 

Libya to investigate 'slave auction' footage

Iraq top court declares Kurd referendum unconstitutional

Saudi Arabia, Arab allies push for unity against Iran, Hezbollah meddling

15 women killed in food aid crush in Morocco

Rare moments of joy at Arabs’ unprecedented World Cup qualifications

UN chief horrified by Libya slave auctions

Qatar 2022 chief has no regrets over hosting World Cup

Gheit says Lebanon should be 'spared' from regional tensions

Syria ‘de-escalation zone’ does nothing to stop civilian deaths

Is a demilitarised Palestinian state a viable option?

S&P affirms good Saudi credit ratings

Israel president faces big backlash over Palestinian scarf

Sudan leader to visit Russia Thursday

Seven years into Libya’s civil war, the chaos continues

Lebanon FM will not attend Arab League Iran summit

Syrian forces liberate Albu Kamal from IS

Israel votes to shut migrant centre, deport Africans

Diplomats from Iran, Russia, Turkey discuss Syria

Libya to investigate ‘slave auction’ footage

Piece by piece, Iran moves towards a ‘new empire’

Netanyahu faces new questioning over corruption case

Syria troops, allies retake most of Albu Kamal from IS

EU cuts funding to Turkey in 2018 budget

Lebanon's Hariri arrives in Paris

Egypt opens Gaza border for first time since unity deal

US-Russia rift threatens fragile prospects for Syria peace

'Caliphate' in tatters but IS still a threat

Saudi Arabia recalls ambassador to Berlin over Gabriel Lebanon comments

Russia again vetoes renewal of Syria gas attacks probe

UN weighs bid to save Syria gas attacks probe

IS attack kills 26 displaced people in Syria

Saudi FM says Lebanon 'held hostage by Hezbollah'

Egypt to open Rafah crossing for 3 days

Turkish troops pulled from NATO drill amid new tensions

Six children among civilians killed in shelling of Eastern Ghouta

US official calls on Sudan to stop 'church demolitions'

Hariri set to leave Saudi Arabia for France

Fears of bombs, IS cells still haunt Mosul

Iraq retakes Rawa, last town held by IS

Riyadh striking deals with people detained in anti-graft purge

Iran criticises French Mideast policy

Russia again blocks UN resolution on Syria action

Israel military chief says ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia

Egypt confirms death of wanted jihadist

UK denies link between citizen detained in Iran and £400m debt