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Somali P.M. urges foreign powers not to hurt civilians
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali on Wednesday welcomed targeted airstrikes by foreign powers on terrorists’ camps in his country, but said they should ensure civilian safety first.
Ali, who was here attending a conference on Somalia, told Xinhua:
"I have not talked about that with the European governments but targeted echelon airstrikes is a welcome opportunity — but we have to make sure that the safety and the property and the lives of the Somali people are protected."
"This is of utmost priority for us, we don’t want them striking inadvertently kids going to school—that would be unforgivable if they did so.
"But on the other hand we welcome the opportunity for them to strike at terrorist camps," he said.
Somali Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab, which controls much of the southern and central parts of the war-torn country, joined forces with al Qaida’s global network in early February.
However, it has lately been facing mounting military pressure as allied Somali, Ethiopian and Kenyan troops as well as African Union peacekeeping forces launched a military offensive.
Earlier on Wednesday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that increased the number of AMISOM (the African Union Mission in Somalia) uniformed personnel from 12,000 to 17,731 to help stabilize the country.
The London Summit on Somalia, which starts Thursday, will bring officials from at least 40 countries and international organizations to discuss building stability and peace in the East African nation.
Since the outbreak of a civil war in Somalia in 1991, no central government has ever controlled the most parts of the country.
The current internationally-recognized transitional government, whose mandate expires on Aug. 20, is working toward eventual national elections this year.
In a just-concluded conference in Garowe in northern Somalia, agreement was reached on a power-sharing arrangement, the type of government and the type of federalism for Somalia, Ali said.
Although 20 years of civil strife, violence, chaos and lawlessness have taken its toll on Somalia, the people are ready to put that behind and move forward, the prime minister said.
"We have never had a framework which takes us to what we call the Promised Land; now we have that, and that framework is the roadmap for reconciliation, for dialogue, for returning safety and security to Somalia, and for good institutions and good government for Somalia," he said.
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