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Tuesday, 12 March, 2002, 13:19 GMT
Somalia proposal to end bank misery
Al Barakaat billboard
Al-Barakaat has been blamed for funding terror groups
Somalia has suggested that a United States bank should take over the operations of the al-Barakaat financial network, shut down by Washington for alleged terrorism links.

Al-Barakaat was used by Somalis overseas to send money home to relatives, and many families in Somalia have struggled as a result of the decision.

Dollar bills
Al Barkaat allegedly had links to al-Qaeda

The foreign minister in Somalia's Transitional National Government, Mr Yusuf Hassan Ibrahim, told a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York on Monday, that the US Government should assign a bank to handle the transactions which could then be scrutinised by the US treasury.

"The idea is to establish a mechanism for the unfreezing of thousands of individual account holders who have no links to al-Qaeda", Mr Ibrahim explained.

Release assets

Somalia's TNG has not officially submitted the proposal to the United States.

President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan
Somali government seeks US assistance

Mr Ibrahim said that he would attempt to meet US officials this week to discuss the matter.

The US supervision could release the assets and ensure that al-Barakaat is "never used again, if ever it was, to funnel funds to terrorists or that funds that have been unfrozen not fall into terrorists' hands," he said.

The al-Barakaat network, including its satellite links, was closed down last November by President George Bush in response to the 11 September attacks on America, which were blamed on the al-Qaeda terror group.

In a related action on Monday, the United States and Saudi Arabia took a joint action to freeze the assets of two branches of a Saudi-based charity that have been linked to financing for al-Qaeda.

The US Treasury Department said the charity's office in Somalia was linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network.

See also:

28 Feb 02 | Africa
Aid worker kidnapped in Somalia
29 Nov 01 | Business
Loopholes kept suspect funder open
20 Oct 01 | Middle East
Bin Laden 'received UN cash'
11 Dec 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Somalis feel US squeeze
08 Nov 01 | Africa
Somali company 'not terrorist'
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