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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
21 August 2006

SOMALIA: Premier appoints new cabinet

NAIROBI, 21 Aug 2006 (IRIN) - Somalia's interim Prime Minister, Ali Muhammad Gedi, on Monday appointed a 31-member cabinet, two weeks after the dissolution of the previous one amid disagreements over the premier's handling of peace talks between the transitional government and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC).

President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who heads Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), dissolved the cabinet on 7 August, a week after a vote of no-confidence in Gedi was defeated in parliament.

The sponsors of the motion had been angered by Gedi's refusal to send a delegation to Khartoum, the Sudanese capital, for reconciliation talks between the TFG and the UIC, which controls the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and much of the southern and central region.

At least 40 ministers and assistant ministers resigned from the government after Gedi won the no-confidence vote, accusing the Prime Minister of obstructing the reconciliation effort.

The names of the new cabinet and the portfolios were announced at the council of ministers' compound in Baidao, the provincial town in south-central Somalia where the TFG is based, according to a government spokesman, Abdirahman Dinari. The cabinet list is to be presented to the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) later this week, he added.

Gedi had postponed the naming of the cabinet for a week to consult elders and various groups "to come up with a cabinet that reflects various parts of Somali society, and will be a national unity government", said Dinari.

"It is a cabinet that will give priority to security, law and order and completion of national reconciliation," he said.

Missing from the list, however, were faction leaders who had been defeated in Mogadishu by militias allied to the UIC in early June. Their exclusion was welcomed by civil society groups and was seen as a decision by Gedi to extend the olive branch to the UIC. The UIC on 4 June defeated a group of warlords who called themselves the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter Terrorism.

"It is a positive development that those warlords are not part of the government, and will hopefully advance the cause of peace and dialogue," said Abdullahi Shirwa, a member of the civil society group Civil Society in Action.

The UIC for its part said the new cabinet was an internal matter for the TFG and had nothing to do with them. "It does not change anything. This is something that is for them and nothing to do with us," the Vice-Chairman of the UIC, Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar, told IRIN on Monday.

Representatives of the transitional government and the UIC met on 22 June in Khartoum and agreed to meet again on 15 July. However, the July meeting failed to take place, with the TFG accusing the UIC of violating the earlier agreement, while the UIC said it would not take part in any talks as long as Ethiopian troops were in Somalia.

The two have now agreed to go to Khartoum for the meeting on 31 August.

According to Dinari, the new cabinet was all-inclusive and "will learn from past mistakes and forge ahead in giving this country good government".

Read IRIN's latest analysis of Somalia's current crisis

The following is the list of cabinet members:

1. Hussein Aideed, Interior
2. Isma'il Muhammad Hure, Foreign Affairs
3. Hassan Muhammad Nur, Finance
4. Husayn Elabe Fahiye, Planning
5. Barre Aden Shire, Defence
6. Sheikh Aden Muhammad, Justice
7. Abdullahi Sheikh Isma'il, Constitutional Affairs
8. Fowsiyo Muhammad Sheikh, Women's and Family Affairs
9. Abdullahi Abdi Garuun, National Security
10. Salim Aliyow Ibirow, Livestock and Animal Husbandry
11. Abdulkadir Nur Arale, Agriculture
12. Hassan Abshir Farah, Fisheries
13. Abdullahi Yusuf Muhammad, Energy
14. Muhammad Mahamud Guleed, Housing and Public Works
15. Ali Isma'il Abdi, Ports and Shipping
16. Muhammad Ibrahim Habsade, Air and Land Transport
17. Abdullahi Ahmed Afrah, Commerce
18. Mahamud Salad Nur, Minerals and Water resources
19. Abdirahman Abdi Waare, Education
20. Mowlid Ma'ane Mahamud, Sport and Youth Affairs
21. Salah Ali Farah, Labour
22. Abdi Muhammad Tarah, Posts and Telecommunications
23. Muhammad Abdullahi Kaamil, Industry
24. Sheikh Hassan Isma'il Bile, Religious Affairs
25. Ali Ahmed Jama, Information
26. Sa'id Hassan Shire, Reconstruction and Resettlement
27. Abdi'aziz Sheikh Yusuf, Health
28. Mahamud Abdullahi Jama, Reconciliation
29. Hussein Mahamud Sheikh Hussein, Higher Education
30. Ali Muhammad Mahamud, Tourism and Wildlife
31. Muhammad Mahamud Hay'd, Environment



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