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Embattled Somali PM names new cabinet

Ali Mohamed Gedi appointed a new, scaled-down cabinet to replace a dissent-riddled government dissolved earlier this month.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2006 16:35 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Embattled Somali Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi on Monday appointed a new, scaled-down cabinet to replace a dissent-riddled government dissolved earlier this month.

Gedi named the 31-strong slate as tensions rose anew between his weak transitional administration and Somalia's newly dominant Islamists over fresh charges that neighbouring Ethiopia has sent troops to support the government.

The alleged presence of those soldiers along with disagreements over whether and how to engage with the Islamists had paralysed Gedi's previous cabinet, which collapsed under mass resignations before being disbanded on August 7.

The agreement to form a new government was part of an Ethiopian-mediated plan to salvage the administration whose limited authority is being challenged by the Islamists who control Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia.

"The new cabinet will be effective in carrying out its mandate," government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari told the agency from the administration's temporary seat in the town of Baidoa, about 250 kms west of the capital.

"The ministers were carefully selected by the prime minister," he said.

The newly named cabinet retains only a handful of members in key posts, notably former warlord Hussein Mohamed Aidid as interior minister, and sees new appointees at the heads of the national security, defence, finance, foreign affairs portfolios.

In addition to the 31 ministers named on Monday, the new government will include 44 deputy ministers, a sharp reduction in posts from the previous cabinet, which had 42 ministers and 80 deputies.

Dinari said the new deputy ministers would be appointed in the coming days.

Somalia's interim president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed had said the new cabinet would be named within one week of the dissolution of the old government and there was no explanation of why that deadline had been missed.

First Published: Aug 21, 2006 16:35 IST