MOGADISHU, Somalia May 30 (Garowe Online) – Somalia’s interim President Abdullahi Yusuf and his Prime Minister, Nur Adde Hassan Hussein, are deeply divided on who should lead the government delegation at the peace talks in Djibouti, confidential sources tell Garowe Online.
Prime Minister Nur Adde has proposed his deputy, Information Minister Ahmed Abdisalan, to head the Somali government’s delegation at the UN-sponsored peace talks in neighboring Djibouti City, set to reopen tomorrow.
But President Yusuf has opposed the Prime Minister’s choice, according to reliable sources in the capital Mogadishu.
It is not clear why the Somali President opposes the naming of Information Minister and Deputy PM Ahmed Abdisalan, but the controversy has surfaced with less than 24 hours remaining for the beginning of peace talks with opposition leaders led by Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, formerly the Islamic Courts’ chief executive.
Sheikh Sharif, now chairman of the Eritrea-based Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), has backed the peace process with Yusuf’s interim government.
But other opposition leaders, namely Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, have dismissed the ongoing peace process and have suggested that the ARS will soon replace Sheikh Sharif.
In turn, Sheikh Sharif publicly criticized Sheikh Aweys for issuing statements contradictory to the ARS leadership, while condemning the Eritrean government for creating divisions among Somali opposition leaders.
Information Minister Abdisalan, who belongs to the same clan as Sheikh Aweys, has been attempting to bridge the gap between President Yusuf’s Ethiopian-backed government in Mogadishu and armed clans opposed to his rule.
Unconfirmed reports said President Yusuf himself will head to Djibouti and represent the government at the peace talks, which is expected to attract senior UN officials.