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Sheikh Sharif Elected Somalia President

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    We are urging our brothers in armed conflict to join us in peace- building, Sheikh Sharif said. (Reuters) Sheikh Sharif Elected Somalia President Sun 2/01/09
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2009
      "We are urging our brothers in armed conflict to join us in peace-
      building," Sheikh Sharif said. (Reuters)

      Sheikh Sharif Elected Somalia President
      Sun 2/01/09

      DJIBOUTI — Leader of the Islamic Courts Union Sheikh Sharif Sheikh
      Ahmed was elected Somalia's president on Saturday, January 31, vowing
      to reconcile the warring parties and bring peace to the war-torn
      country. "I declare Sharif Sheikh Ahmed the president of Somalia
      after winning this election," Parliament Speaker Aden Mohamed Nur
      said, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

      Sheikh Sharif, the candidate of the opposition Alliance for the Re-
      liberation of Somalia (ARS), defeated Maslah Mohamed Siad Barre, a
      general and the son of a former president, in the second round of
      voting held in neighboring Djibouti.

      "We have 293 votes for Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and 126 for Siad," said
      Hussein Mohamed Jama, head of the presidential electoral commission.
      Seventeen candidates contested the vote, including incumbent Prime
      Minister Nur Hassan Hussein and his predecessor Ali Mohamed Gedi.
      Hussein pulled out of the contest after trailing Sheikh Sharif by a
      massive 160 votes in the first round.

      "I am ready to cooperate with whoever is elected to make Somalia a
      peaceful country," he said.

      Sheikh Sharif's election came only days after Ethiopian troops who
      sent him into exile two years ago completed their pullout from

      Addis Ababa sent troops into Somalia in 2006 to topple the ruling
      Islamic Courts Union, which restored a rare peace to Somalia, and
      install the weak interim government.

      Since then, more than 10,000 have been killed and one million


      Sheikh Sharif, in his mid-forties, vowed to reconcile all warring
      parties and bring peace to the war-torn Horn of Africa nation.
      "The conflict in Somalia will be resolved," he told parliament.
      "We are urging our brothers in armed conflict to join us in peace-
      building," said Sheikh Sharif, who will succeed Abdullahi Yusuf
      Ahmed, who resigned last month after a bitter power struggle.
      "We will govern the Somali people with honesty and justice, and give
      them back their rights."

      A former geography teacher educated in Sudan and Libya, Sheikh Sharif
      is from the town of Jowhar and belongs to the Abgaal branch of the
      Hawiye clan, which is one of Somalia's two largest and prominent in
      central Somalia and Mogadishu.

      He set up the ICU in 2002 to oust the warlords, who had ruled Somalia
      for years.

      After Ethiopian invaded Somalia, Sheikh Sharif went into exile in
      Djibouti, where he led the Somali resistance against the Ethiopian

      Last November, he returned to his stronghold of Jowhar, located some
      90 kilometers (55 miles) north of Mogadishu, for the first time in
      two years and after Ethiopian troops pulled out of the town.
      After being sworn in Djibouti on Saturday, Sharif will fly to
      Ethiopia to attend an African leaders summit.

      He then returns to Somalia to try and put together a unity government.
      "Very soon, I will form a government which represents the people of
      Somalia," said Sharif.

      Somalia has had no effective central authority and been embroiled in
      almost uninterrupted inter-clan and civil strife since the 1991
      ouster of former president Mohamed Siad Barre.

      "We will live peacefully with East African countries and we want to
      cooperate with them."



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