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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Somalia regrets call for foreign troops

Mon, 23 Mar 2009 23:27:13 GMT | PressTV

Somalia's Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar sits during a ministerial meeting in Djibouti February 21, 2009.
Somalia's premier has publicly apologized for the remarks made by the country's foreign minister in which he demanded more foreign troops.

Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali said that he would not welcome a proposal which runs contrary to the public interests

The Somali cabinet believes that Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdulahi Omaar, should talk about the issue himself and hold a press conference in this respect, added Abdirashid Ali, who was speaking at a press conference in the presidential palace in Mogadishu on Monday.

Abdulahi Omaar on Friday demanded the United Nations Security Council to support the deployment of further three battalions from Uganda and Burundi, to reinforce the nearly 3,400 peacekeepers based in Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

The foreign minister's request faced strong nationwide opposition from clerics, intellectuals, and civil society organizations in Somalia.

Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Salad, chairman of the Somali Islamic Scholars Association, said that Somali Islamic scholars were 'unanimously opposed' to any further deployment of foreign forces in Somalia.

"The scholars were surprised to learn that the government was requesting for more troops when what we expected of it was to send those already here back to their countries because that was our recommendation to the government," Sheikh Salad said at news conference in Mogadishu.

The Hizbul Islam (Islamic party) group has also opposed the Somali government's call for the deployment of further peacekeepers in Somalia, demanding that those already in Somalia be withdrawn.

Sheik Hassan Mahdi, a member of Hizbul Islam, said 600 troops from African countries have been secretly deployed in the country and commented that they were brought to massacre the Somali civilians.

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