Somali Prime Minister Sharmake Resigns, President Sharif Welcomes Move

Published on Wednesday 22nd September 2010 Somali Prime Minister Sharmake Resigns, President Sharif Welcomes Move

The interim Prime Minister of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has resigned from the post after a months-long feud with President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, Radio Garowe reports.

An news conference event was held at Villa Somalia presidential palace and attended by President Sharif, the resigning Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake, and Parliament Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, as well Somali MPs and Cabinet members.

Before Sharmake's brief comments to the press, he concluded a closed-door meeting with President Sharif, who has welcomed the Prime Minister's resignation announcement as a "courageous decision."

Sharmake, who spoke at the press conference and smiled at reporters, said he is resigning "due to unsolved differences with the President" and he also cited the worsening situation in Somalia.

"I have resigned to end the dispute within the Government, and in order for something to be done about the situation in the country," the former PM Sharmake told reporters in Mogadishu.

Various sources are saying that the former Prime Minister of the TFG resigned "under international pressure," but it was not immediately clear what countries were pressuring Sharmake to resign.

The political dispute between Sharmake and President Sharif, which sparked in May, has led to the "strengthening of insurgency forces," diplomatic sources in Nairobi tell Somali news agency Garowe Online.

Mr. Augustine Mahiga, the UN's special envoy for Somalia, announced in New York overnight Monday that the dispute between the TFG leaders "will end very soon."

President Sharif is expected to address the UN General Assembly later this week in New York, where a special session on Somalia is expected.

According to government insiders, the parliament Speaker, Sharif Hassan, reportedly urged Mr. Sharmake to vacate the post of Prime Minister as "this was the only solution" to end the political dispute that has crippled the TFG in recent months.

It is not clear which Somali politician will replace Mr. Sharmake, but the former Prime Minister's resignation comes as a big surprise in many corners and especially in light of the end of the TFG mandate in August 2011.

The TFG was created after a two-year Somali peace process in 2004. President Sharif, and his former PM Sharmake, both joined the TFG in 2009 as part of the controversial Djibouti Agreement which sought to include "moderate" Islamists into the government.

Since that agreement, the TFG has lost control over most regions in south-central Somalia and is now cornered to a few Mogadishu districts, protected by the heavy guns of African Union troops.


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