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Monday, August 07, 2006


Mogadishu, 7 August (AKI) - Somali president Abdullah Yusuf said on Monday the country would have a new provisional cabinet in a week's time. "We will appoint a new transitional Somali government within a week," said the president on the day the country's leaders agreed to dissolve the crisis-ridden cabinet. Some 40 ministers have quit the cabinet over the prime minister's opposition to peace talks with the Islamist militias who control the capital, Mogadishu.

The crisis had caused a rift between president Abdullah Yusuf and prime minister Ali Mohamed Ghed, whose government controls little more than Baidoa, where it is based.

However the president told Somali radio Shabelle that disagreements with the premier had been solved after "constructive talks" and that Ghedi had agreed to appoint a new cabinet of no more than 31 ministers.

The agreement was reportedly reached thanks to the mediation of Ethiopian foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin, whose country is the main regional ally of the interim government.

The interim cabinet originally had more than 100 members.

In the past 10 days however a succession of ministers left the government, and Ghedi narrowly survived a parliamentary vote of no confidence on Saturday.

Ghedi's critics within both the government and parliament accuse him of having failed to reach a settlement with the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), whose militia have taken control of Mogadishu in recent months.

On Monday the leader of UIC, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys condemned Ethiopia's mediation.

"The transitional Somali government of Baidoa is now fully in Ethipia's hands," Aweys was quoted as saying by website Somalinet. "Ethiopian interests in Somalia are taken care of by the provisional government."

Somalia has been without an effective central government since warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
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