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Form cabinet, Somalia told

By Vision Reporter

Added 29th October 2008 03:00 AM

Regional leaders meeting in Nairobi yesterday urged Somali leaders to form a new cabinet within two weeks.

Regional leaders meeting in Nairobi yesterday urged Somali leaders to form a new cabinet within two weeks.

By Reuben Olita and Agencies

Regional leaders meeting in Nairobi yesterday urged Somali leaders to form a new cabinet within two weeks.

A statement issued yesterday said five presidents from the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) also called on the Somali parliament to “finalise the drafting of the Somali constitution and enact electoral and parties laws within six months of the issuance of this declaration”.

The regional leaders were in the Kenyan capital for an IGAD summit called by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to discuss the worsening security crisis in Somalia.

The meeting, held at Kenyatta International Conference Centre, was attended by President Yoweri Museveni, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, Ismael Omar Guelleh (Djibouti), Abdullahi Yusuf (Somalia), Zenawi and Sudan’s First Vice-President, Salva Kiir Mayardit.

Divided Somalia is run by a transitional government whose mandate expires in September next year. The writing of a new constitution, however, has been stalled by violence and political rivalries.

A faction of Somali Islamists based in Asmara, Eritrea has refused to sign a ceasefire and peace treaty with the transitional government and vowed to expel Ethiopian peacekeeping forces by force.

Although Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein signed a deal that was expected to reconcile them, infighting has persisted, stalling government operations.

“It is necessary that this is overcome for positive progress to be made. I, therefore, call upon all the Somali leaders to put aside their differences for the sake of peace, stability and the welfare of their people,” Kibaki said at the summit.

Zenawi warned the world against neglecting Somalia. “The transitional federal institutions are in paralysis and it is high time that this situation was addressed.”

IGAD warned of unspecified action against Somalia should the country fail to draft a new constitution within six months, but also endorsed United Nations Security Council resolutions authorising the use of force to combat the increasing incidents of piracy along the Somali coast.

The summit commended Uganda, Burundi and Ethiopia for sending troops to Somalia.

Meanwhile, in the latest incident of violence there, at least 32 people were yesterday killed in five suicide car bomb attacks in two northern Somali breakaway states.

A local medical official spoke to at least 24 wounded admitted in hospitals after the blasts at the presidential palace, the United Nations Development Programme’s compound and a building housing Ethiopian diplomats in Hargeysa, the capital of Somaliland.

The dead included five of the bombers, four Ethiopians and two Somali employees of the UN.

IGAD has six active members: Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. Eritrea’s membership was suspended in 2007.

Form cabinet, Somalia told

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