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Somalia leader says security, reconciliation to top priory if reelected

Friday, August 17, 2012

MOGADISHU, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Somalia's incumbent President, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh, who is vying for reelection in the upcoming leadership contest for the Horn of Africa country, has said national security and reconciliation will top his priorities if elected for a second term.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who has been in power since 2009 wants reelection and is seen as one of the frontrunners in the presidential election due later in the month.

In wide-ranging exclusive interview with Xinhua, President Ahmed said security and national reconciliation will be top of his priority once reelected as the war-ravaged horn of Africa nation battles with militant group of Al-Shabaab.

"My first priority is security and rebuilding the armed forces.. .We will work for the continuation of the peace process so that Somali people reconcile and come together," President Ahmed told Xinhua on Thursday at his office in Mogadishu.

The Somali president said he had high hopes of reelection, saying his "track record" is what differentiates him from other candidates running for the leadership of Somalia.

The incumbent president said reviving the devastated social services institutions in the country reeling from two decades of civil conflict will receives precedence in his program for reelection.

"Also rebuilding of the country is a priority particularly the social services institutions such as hospitals, roads, utility and schools and so on," President Ahmed said, adding that his administration will work for the utilization of the country's natural resources for the benefit of the Somali people.

The presidential election will be carried out by the new parliament which is currently being selected by senior Somali clan elders who will share the 275-member legislature along clan quotas.

The selection of members of the new parliament mark the final stages of an elaborate plan known as the roadmap to end the decade- long transitional period.

President Ahmed said efforts shall be made to strengthen relations with China and revive what he said were historical ties between the two nations.

The Somalia leader will face more than 30 other presidential hopefuls including the current Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and Speaker of outgoing parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam.


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