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TFG President Calls on Al-Shabaab to Negotiate
Sheikh Sharif Opens New Year on Conciliatory Note
By MOHAMED NUXURKEY 01/02/2012
TFG President Sharif
TFG President Sharif
Speaking in a press conference in capital Mogadishu, Transitional Federal Government (TFG) president, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, highlighted a number of issues. Mr. Ahmed reiterated his stance that parliament's decision to dissolve the Speaker, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, was unconstitutional.

“The dispute, which began on 13 September, have been incredibly destructive to the credibility of the TFG, and it have served to weaken your responsibility to the Somali people. You are the lawmakers for the people, and this has been overshadowed by parliamentary infighting. Please abstain from this senseless activity.

The president then appealed to al-Shabaab to dismantle its hardline activity in the name of peace for Somalia, referencing the scourge of conflict and drought that has affected millions of Somalis for two decades.

“I'm calling on al-Shabaab to please cease your campaign of violence. A life following this path is worthless, for you as well as million starving Somalis. Don’t destroy Somalia's peace prospects, and don’t deny the rights of your people. I encourage you to enter into negotiations with us. We are willing and waiting.

The president pointed out that 2011 had seen some progress in the campaign against al-Shabaab. Mr. Ahmed thanked the international community for their efforts to take part in fostering the peace, and assisting those affected by the drought. The president made special reference to the work of the Turkish government, the African Union (AU), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the European Union (EU), and the United States of America.

The president’s speech comes amid renewed fighting in the Hiraan region where TFG troops, supported by Ethiopian forces, are fighting al-Shabab.

Meanwhile, al-Shabab is trying to regain in the town of Beledweyne, after they were forced out last Friday by some hundreds of mixed Somali and Ethiopian troops, who managed to take control of the city.