Ali Mohammad Gedi, Prime Minister of Somalia
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 19 September, 2007 - Ali Mohammad Gedi, Prime Minister of Somalia's transitional government, has reaffirmed that Saudi Arabia supports the idea of sending Arab-African troops under the leadership of the United Nations to maintain security and stability in Somalia.
He expressed hope that Saudi Arabia would play a role in this matter within its capacity as chair of the rotating Presidency of the Arab League.
In statements to Gulf News, Gedi disclosed that several African states, including Nigeria, Ghana, Burundi and Benin, have agreed to take part in the joint operation, adding dispatch of the troops is pending and financial support is necessary to cover the cost of the operation of these forces.
The Saudi monarch, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz on Sunday evening oversaw the signing of a reconciliation agreement between several Somali factions.
Somali President Abdullahi Yousuf Ahmad earlier asked King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz to support the formation of a joint Arab-African force to preserve security and stability in Somalia.
"To enhance comprehensive national reconciliation and in a bid to realise peace and security and reconstruct the homeland, we call from this podium to dispatch a joint Arab-African force under the United Nations command to assume responsibility of preserving peace and security in Somalia. We hope all Somali brothers will support this appeal," the President said.
The Somali Premier pointed out that soon his government will begin dissolving the armed militia, but he noted that this requires financial and logistic support from the international community.
"We appeal to the international community to provide financial and logistic support to assist us in dissolving the armed militia and disarm all Somali armed groups and individuals," the Prime Minister added.
"We have requested the United Nations and the Arab League to provide us with $50 to $60 million and we are waiting for this money to start the disarmament process and rehabilitation of the destroyed infrastructure," he said.
The Prime Minister disclosed that the reconciliation agreement, signed Sunday evening in Jeddah, includes a number of articles, the most important of which is the ceasefire, the disarming of militia, rehabilitation of infrastructure, the building of government establishments, formation of political parties, rewording of the new Somali constitution in preparation of the planned 2009 elections and the return of properties of those who fled the country because of the war.