New Islamist president: US view of Somalia 'now positive'

Ahmed was elected Somalia's new president Saturday during a vote by parliament in neighbouring Djibouti.

New Islamist president: US view of Somalia 'now positive'

The newly elected president of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, said in an interview published on Sunday that he saw the United States as a positive influence for peace in his country.

Ahmed led the Islamic Courts Union before the United States backed an Ethiopian occupation meant to topple the Islamists out of power. In May 2008, Ahmed condemned the United States for a U.S. airstrike that killed an Islamic leader in central Somalia.

The last Ethiopian troops left Somalia last month and a new U.S. administration under President Barack Obama took office in Washington on Jan. 20.

One can say that the U.S. position towards Somalia has become honest... We think that the American view of Somalia is 'now positive', Ahmed told the Egyptian newspaper el-Shorouk.

In the framework of the Djibouti negotiations, "America has become a force which supports peace," he added.

Ahmed was elected Somalia's new president Saturday during a vote by parliament in neighbouring Djibouti.

Sheikh Sharif was running as the leader of the Islamist-dominated Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia and comfortably defeated his election rivals.

He won a majority of the votes in a second-round face-off with Maslah Mohamed Siad Barre.

The vote was organised as a result of the December resignation of Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed following a bitter power struggle with Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, who pulled out of the presidential election after the first round.

Agencies

Last Mod: 01 Şubat 2009, 17:21
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