24/05/08 (B449) Somali Press Review : le Premier Ministre somalien lance un appel pour la rédaction de la constitution. Somali Prime Minister calls for action to draw up constitution

Nairobi, 23 May 2008 – The Prime Minister of Somalia, Nur Hassan Hussein, has called for Somali politicians to ‘do their utmost’ to draw up a new constitution and for the United Nations to assist in the process.

He was speaking in Baidoa on May 22 at the start of discussions on the Somali constitution-making process, which, according to the 2004 Charter, must be completed within the next six months.

The launch was also attended by the Minister of Constitutional Affairs, the Minister of Public Works, representatives of the Independent Federal Constitutional Commission, members of the Parliamentary Committee on the Constitution, officials from the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs and UN representatives.

‘Somali parliamentarians, with the support of the UN, must do their utmost to meet the Charter requirement and present a draft Constitution to the Somali Parliament within the legal timeframe,’ said Prime Minister Hussein.

The UN Resident Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, said the UN was fully committed to helping the constitutional process.

‘We would like to ensure that the process promotes reconciliation, peace and stability through an inclusive and participatory process for all regions of Somalia’, he said.

A representative from the UN Political Office for Somalia said that the constitutional process was a key element in restoring stability and peace and that it complemented the efforts of the TFG and other Somali stakeholders to promote broad-based reconciliation in the country.

24/05/08 (B449) Somali Press Review : Selon la Voix de l’Amérique (VOA), il y aurait un « divorce » entre le Président du Gouvernement somalien de transition et son Premier Ministre. Somalia: VOA highlights schism between the Somali president and prime minister (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

The Djibouti talks for Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government and the Asmara based Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia has grabbed the attention of analysts. In a report on the first phase of talks, the Voice of America VOA reporter Alisha Ryu paints a bleak picture about the outcome of the talks. Alisha reinforces her point with quotes from analysts who laud efforts of the UN envoy for Somalia, the Mauritanian diplomat Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah for getting “people talking who were not talking before.”

A less reported element in talks is the approach of Somalia’s president and prime minister who put their weight behind the talks although VOA reporter said “ Somalia’s powerful interim President Abdullahi Yusuf largely opposes peace talks and favors a military solution. Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein wants direct talks with opposition groups to reach a political reconciliation.”

The only precondition that made impossible talks between the Transitional Federal Government in the past was the opposition’s demands for complete Ethiopian withdrawal but after the opposition dropped the precondition, the momentum for talks increased.

Donor countries have repeatedly made it clear to the Transitional Federal Government that efforts towards reconciliation is a main benchmark for development assistance to rebuild Somalia. The VOA’s report casts the Somali president in a bad light as far reconciliation efforts are concerned. “ The Somali president welcomes and supports peace talks between the government and the opposition who are not blacklisted as terrorists or terrorism suspect”

Somali president’s spokesman Hussein Mohamoud Hussein told Somali Press Review. “I don’t know where the VOA reporter got that information. It is propaganda aimed at discrediting the Somali president who has a peace-making record dating back to 1993,” he added.

The second phase of talks for Somali government and the opposition is slated to take place in Djibouti on May 31.

19/05/08 (B448) Somali Press Review / Somalia: A la suite de l’assassinat de plusieurs responsables de l’organisation, il y a quelques semaines, le Groupe Al Shabaab modifie sa stratégie et concentre ses actions dans au Sud Ouest de la Somalie. Un accord aurait été passé avec le nouveau leader du clan Ayr, qui dirige les opérations depuis Djibouti. Al Shabaab insurgents change strategy (En Anglais – Info lecteur)

Al Shabaab, the Somali Islamist insurgents, has changed strategy in the wake of the targetted assassination of the group’s senior leaders several weeks ago.

Al Shabaab was operating in the middle regions—Hiiraan and Galguduud—but now their movements are concentrated in south western parts of Somalia.

This change of strategy has got to do with pressure that the late Adan Hashi Ayro’s sub-clan exerted on the movement’s operatives in the middle regions after Al Shabaab insurgents attacked Adado, the hometown of the spokesman for the Hawiye Council, Ahmed Diriye.

A Mogadishu based journalist who wants to be quoted on the condition of anonymity and who is familiar with Al Shabaab operations told Somali Press Review that “Al Shabaab insurgents in south western regions belong to clans that were not in the past associated with the Ayr sub-clan to which the late Adan Hashi Ayro belonged.

Ayr sub-clan political leadership led by the Djibouti based Dr Ulusow agreed to move the movement’s operations to southern region and this, in their eyes, warranted cooperation with those on the trail of Al Shabaab leaders.”

How Al Shabaab insurgents in Bay, Middle Jubba and Lower Jubba regions will bank on support of the Ayr business men who bankrolled insurgents is to be seen.