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Somalia's New Prime Minister Resigns

Mohamoud Mohamed Guled, a Somali lawmaker who was named as the country's new Prime Minister by President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed last week, said Wednesday that he has forwarded his resignation from the post to the President as he did not want to be seen as an obstacle to the ongoing peace process.

"After looking into the situation in the country I decided to resign as the prime minister of Somalia and I have given my resignation letter to his excellency the president of Somalia," Guled told reporters. "I am paving the way for the continuation of dialogue between Somali leaders and I don't want to become an obstacle," he added.

Hours after Guled forwarded his resignation, President Yusuf also told his supporters on Wednesday that he too would step down on Saturday.

Earlier, President Yusuf had named Guled as the country's new prime minister last week after sacking former Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, despite objections from the Somali MPs.

President Yusuf had fired Prime Minister Nur Hassan accusing him of corruption, inefficiency, treason and failing to bring peace to the war torn country. However, the very next day after the sacking of Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, the Somali parliament declared the move illegal and voted overwhelmingly in support of Nur Hassan.

Somalia has not had a functioning government after the fall of the last government in 1991. Two years ago, Ethiopia sent thousands of its soldiers to Somalia in December 2006 to assist the weak interim government in its fight against the powerful Islamic militia there.

However, Ethiopia is planning to withdraw its troops from Somalia by the year-end as their presence in the country is largely unpopular among Somalis despite their success in recapturing the country's capital city of Mogadishu from the Islamists.

Currently, the 2400-strong AU force is struggling with its peacekeeping efforts in Somalia after the ousted Islamist fighters turned to guerrilla warfare against the government, Ethiopian and AU troops.

It is estimated the fighting between the Islamist insurgents and the army coalition has killed thousands of Somalis and displaced hundreds of thousands more, mostly from Mogadishu.

by RTT Staff Writer

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