Somalia: Ahlu Sunnah and government sign agreement in Addis Ababa 13 Mar 13, 2010 - 12:50:11 PM
Somalia’s UN-backed government and pro-government Islamist group Ahlu Sunnah Wal-Jamaa have on Saturday signed agreement in the Ethiopian capital of Addiss Ababa
According to the sources, the pro-government group has backed down from its early demands of premiership position and now is settling for five cabinet slots in the bloated government.
Government delegation is led by Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Shama'arke while Ahlu sunnah is headed by Ma’alin Mahamm'ud Sheikh Hassan.
The ceremony commemorate the signing of the accord, was attended by Mr. Jean Ping, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) and Ramtane Lamamra, AU’s Commissioner for Peace and Security.
Other substantial bargaining for the group are also the merging of government and its forces under one leadership and slot in the diplomatic missions.
The accorded was signed under the blessings of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who recently held talks with Somalia’s embattled president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed on the sidelines of the African Union summit held in Addis
The agreement would once again swell the already bloated government, which was formed last year in neighboring Djibouti after months of reconciliations.
Officials from Ahlu Sunnah is said to be included in both the cabinet and the parliament.
However, the group’s spokesman Sheikh Abdullahi Abdirahman Abu-Yussuf said the signing of the agreement would not mean that the group will change its identity.
The name Ahlu Sunnah is a God given one, even if we join the government, we will not disown it because it is a name that holds the integrity of our group,” he said.
Political analysts say Sheikh Sharif’s government has a keen interest in the pro-government Ahul-Sunnah, which allegedly has the backing of Addis Ababa , but fears its domination once the other Islamist groups are eliminated from the country’s political scene.