Somalia names new prime minister
Nur Hassan Hussein says he will make security in the war-torn country his priority.
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2007 15:47 GMT
Nur Hassan Hussein was a minister under Mohamed Siad Barre who was overthrown in 1991 [AFP]
Somalia's president has nominated the head of the Somali Red Crescent and former attorney general as the transitional government's new prime minister.

Nur Hassan Hussein was set to succeed Ali Mohamed Gedi, who was effectively forced to step down before a confidence vote after a long-running feud with the president.
Abdullahi Yusuf, the president, on Thursday asked parliament to approve his nomination and urged Hussein to quickly form a cabinet.

"I have seen that he is a man who can fill the position and has the ability to lead the government," he said in Baidoa, where the interim parliament is based.
The nomination is expected to voted on by parliament within 24 hours. "I pledge that I will do my utmost to perform the difficult obligations in front of me, by respecting the Somali federal charter," Hussein said.

National security

Hussein said his priority would be national security in a country that has seen increased fighting between government forces, their Ethiopian allies, and tribal groups and Muslim fighters opposed to the administration.

"He is a man who can
unite the government and the rebels. Somalis are lucky to have him in this difficult situation"

Ugas Abdulahi Elmi Osoble,
Hawiye clan spokesman
"I will try my best to surmount problems plaguing the country within less than two years," he said in a brief acceptance speech broadcast live on local radio stations.

The UN has described the situation as worse than the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.

The violence has resulted in a growing humanitarian crisis, with about one million people displaced, 600,000 of whom have left Mogadishu since February.

Hussein comes from the Hawiye clan, as required under a power-sharing agreement in the transitional government's constitution.

"He is a man who can unite the government and the rebels. Somalis are lucky to have him in this difficult situation," Ugas Abdulahi Elmi Osoble, Hawiye clan spokesman, said.

'United approach'

Ahmed Ould-Abdallah, UN special envoy to Somalia, praised the government for carrying out the nomination through consultation.

"I hope that this appointment will prepare the ground for a united approach," he said in a statement.

Hussein has served in a number of government jobs from 1958 onwards and rose to be attorney-general in 1987, four years before Mohamed Siad Barre's was forced from power by warlords.

Since then, he has been secretary-general of the Somali Red Crescent.
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