OIC Chief congratulates new Somali President


Jeddah : The Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has welcomed the election of the leader of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) Sheikh Sharif Ahmed as the new President of Somalia and conveyed to him his sincere congratulations. In a message delivered on his behalf at the swearing in ceremony by Ambassador Tariq Bakheet, Prof Ihsanoglu commended the transparent and credible process under which the new Somali leader emerged and hoped that this new dawn marks a new beginning that will reinforce the foundations of democracy, peace and stability in Somalia. He further praised the statesmanship, commitment and spirit of compromise of President Sharif Ahmed and urged him to work for the reconciliation, unity and socio-economic development of the country.

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While commending all Somalis especially the two parties in the Djibouti Peace Process on this historic occasion, the Secretary General also appealed to them to close ranks and support the new leadership with a view to addressing the challenges facing the country including the ending of violence and the humanitarian crisis in Somalia. He called on the militants and other opposition elements to cease all acts of insurgency and join the peace process. Prof Ihsanoglu reiterated the continuing engagement of the OIC with Somalia and assured the new leadership that he will continue to mobilize Member States in order to extend their full assistance to the peace building efforts and reconstruction of Somalia. He finally appreciated the special contributions of the President of the Republic Djibouti HE Mr Ismael Omar Guelleh and the United Nations Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould Abdallah in the endeavor to restore durable peace to Somalia.

Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has been sworn in as the new president of Somalia just months after his Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) signed a peace deal with the transitional government. The ceremony in neighboring Djibouti on Saturday came after Ahmed, who also led the Islamic Courts Union, won a run-off parliamentary vote.

The new president’s Islamic Courts movement ruled Mogadishu and most of southern Somalia for six months before being ousted by the Ethiopian military at the end of 2006. Ahmed easily defeated Maslah Mohamed Siad, son of ex-president Mohamed Siad Barre, in Saturday morning’s second round of voting, winning 293 votes to Siad’s 126. “My government will bring an adequate plan to overcome the difficulties the nation is facing,” he said in a brief inauguration speech. “I will deal with the humanitarian situation in the country and give priority to those who have been displaced by war.”