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Monday, 12 November, 2001, 17:14 GMT
New PM in Somalia
President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan
The new Somali president has international support
Hassan Abshir Farah has been named as Somalia's new prime minister, two weeks after his predecessor lost a vote of no-confidence.


I hope the new government will be able to tackle the problems which the former government was not able to, such as completing the reconciliation process and establishing regional administrations

President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan
His appointment comes as faction leader Hussein Aideed said that he supported President George W Bush's fight against terror.

However, President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan, has said that the US should have waited for proof before listing Somalia's largest company, al-Barakaat, as a "financier of terror".

Somalia has frequently been mentioned as a refuge for supporters of Osama Bin Laden, held responsible by the US for the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington.

Popular support

The 56-year-old Mr Farah was minister of water and mineral resources in the previous administration and is a former ambassador to Japan and Germany.

He comes from the north-eastern region of Puntland which has declared its independence from the rest of Somalia, although this is not internationally recognised.

Hussein Aideed
Aideed junior backs Bush junior

Correspondents say that he is believed to have more popular support than his predecessor, Ali Khalif Galaydh.

On appointing him, President Abdulkassim said:

"I hope the new government will be able to tackle the problems which the former government was not able to, such as completing the reconciliation process and establishing regional administrations."

Little influence

A year after being sworn in, the transitional government still has little influence outside the capital, Mogadishu.


We, the SRRC, have sent a message to President Bush that we are against terrorism and we support the international coalition

Hussein Aideed, warlord

Somalia has suffered from 10 years of civil war since Siad Barre was ousted.

Faction leaders, such as Mr Aideed, control most of Somalia's territory. They have formed an umbrella group, opposed to Mr Abdulkassim's rule, the Somali Restoration and Reconciliation Council.

'Innocent'

Mr Aideed, whose father Muhammad Farah, was at the centre of a manhunt involving US troops commanded by President Bush's father told the BBC's Focus on Africa:

"We, the SRRC, have sent a message to President Bush that we are against terrorism and we support the international coalition."

He said that more than 300 Somalis belonging to the al-Itihad group were being trained by Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network in Pakistan.

But President Abdulkassim, who has strongly backed the US-led fight against terror, says that the Bush administration was too quick to condemn the al-Barakaat company.

"Actually one is innocent unless proved otherwise," he told reporters late on Sunday.

"That is the basis of common law. So I think it would have been better if we had cooperated with law enforcement agencies in the US to investigate thoroughly what is going on, and if there is a case taken it to a court."

Al-Barakaat is used by thousands of Somali ex-patriates to send money to relatives back home.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Hussein Aideed, Somali warlord
"We have sent a message to President Bush that we are against terrorism"
See also:

05 Nov 01 | Africa
Moi reopens Somali border
26 Sep 01 | Africa
US targets Somali group
24 Sep 01 | Africa
UN pulls out of Somalia
21 Sep 01 | Africa
Somalia rejects Bin Laden link
17 Oct 01 | Africa
Starvation threat in Somalia
05 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Somalia
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