US urged to review Somalia blacklist
President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed (2nd R)
President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed meets with the US envoy to Somalia, demanding Washington to remove certain individuals from its blacklist.
The newly-elected Somali president held talks with the United States officials on Wednesday a day after he met with a number rebel leaders from major opposition movements.
The rebel commanders included Hassan Turkey of Muaskar Raskaboni group, Sheikh Yusuf Mohamed Siyad Indho Adde of the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), al-Shabaab's Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Mansur and Sheikh Omar Iman Abubakar of the Asmara wing of the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS), sources close to president told Press TV on condition of anonymity.
Sheikh Ahmed is attempting to convince Washington to remove the four leaders -- whose fighters have been planning attacks against foreign troops and African Union peacekeepers -- from its terrorist list, arguing that they are popular leaders widely supported by the Somalis.
The negotiations come as part of the president's reconciliation effort aimed at bringing together all Somali factions to help craft his promised “inclusive coalition.”
Sheikh Ahmed, a cleric and a former ARS leader, was elected president by Somali lawmakers who convened in Djibouti in the wake of embattled former president Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed's resignation in December.
Meanwhile, Somalia is eying a new prime minister as more than 20 well-known politicians are running for the post whose powers are drowned out by those of president.
Many analysts believe Maslah Mohamed Siyad Barre, the son of ousted military dictator Syiad Barre, will win the country's premiership.
According to Somalia's transitional charter, the president, the premier and the parliament speaker have to come from three different major clans. Sheikh Ahmed and incumbent Premier Nur Hassan Hussein are both from the Hawiye clan.