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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 16:55 GMT
Somali PM unhappy with new deal
Speaker of parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan (l), President Abdullahi Yusuf (c) and Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi (r)
The alliances between the speaker (l), the president (c) and the premier (r) have changed
Somalia's prime minister has criticised the decision to call a key meeting of parliament in the town of Baidoa.

This had seemed to solve a long-running dispute over where parliament should be based - blocking the peace process.

But Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi told the BBC that Baidoa was "not safe" - he has said the same about Mogadishu.

There has been no effective central government in Somalia since 1991 and rival clan-based militias have divided the country between them.

Residents celebrate

Mr Ghedi said the decision to convene the first meeting of parliament on Somali soil in Baidoa on 26 February had been made unilaterally by Parliament Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan.

"The situation of Somalia today cannot be addressed individually," he told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

Facts and figures about life in Somalia

The announcement was made by the speaker, after talks in Kenya with President Abdullahi Yusuf, who said he backed the decision and would address the meeting.

The BBC's Mohammed Adow says it looks as though there has been a shift in the alliances - previously Mr Yusuf had been allied with Mr Ghedi.

Critics say the prime minister's change of mind stems from fears that he will face a vote of no-confidence at the first session - a charge Mr Ghedi denies.

He said his priority was to ensure the security and stability of the country.

Mr Yusuf and Mr Ghedi have been based in Jowhar, while the speaker, backing by key warlords, has been in the capital, Mogadishu.

Baidoa is seen as a compromise between the two factions.

Hundreds of Baidoa residents have gone onto the streets to celebrate the announcement.

"We are ready to welcome the MPs and take the security responsibility," read one of their banners.

On Monday, UN envoy to Somalia Francois Fall also welcomed the announcement as "a very positive development".

"The future of their country is now in their [lawmakers'] hands," he said.

The 275-seat parliament was inaugurated in August 2004 after some two years of talks in Kenya.


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