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Somali Government Enthused About Negotiations with Insurgents


Somalia's government has expressed satisfaction about ongoing talks with hard line Islamic insurgents who have vowed to overthrow the administration.

The government says it will continue to negotiate with the insurgents until a solution is found to end the country's instability.

The insurgents including al-Shabab have refused to recognize President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed's government, vowing to overthrow the administration and implement the strictest form of Sharia law.

Political analysts say despite the negotiations, it is unclear if the insurgents will join the beleaguered government.

Cabinet minister Abdirashid Irro Mohammed said that the government is determined to continue with its reconciliation efforts.

"Our government is trying to reconcile with our people and the position of our government is that we will like to convince and to call all the Somalis to join (in) the peace process and to support the government," Mohammed said.

He said there is need to finding a solution to the violence.

"We are very keen to talk to our people to continue with the discussion and dialogue and to convince them that they should join the peace process because Somalis are exhausted by killing from one another. And this has prolonged for more than 20 years," he said.

Mohammed said the government is unfazed despite difficulties in negotiations with the insurgents.

"We are not strong with our people we are very weak with our people because we don't want to continue the fighting and killing our people. So that is why we are very soft for the negotiations with our people and we will like to invite them to the peace process," Mohammed said.

He said the government is rebuilding the army.

"We are trying to recruit and organize our national forces. And the national force, the number (have) increased to more than ten thousand," he said.

Mohammed praised the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia (AMISOM).

"We have our brothers who have been supporting this government from the AMISOM; African Union troops especially those who came from Uganda and Rwanda. So militarily we are very strong, but for the negotiations we are not very strong with our people," Mohammed said.

He said there are foreigners who have joined the extremists to destabilize the country.

"We do believe that really those who are against the government, some of them, they are not related to the Somalis' politics. They are getting financial support and also political instructions from the outside, and I don't think that those persons are here to join the peace process. They are not ready for negotiations," he said.

Mohammed said the government is confident in the ongoing negotiations.

"I believe (in) the negotiations. It is better than the armed solution. So we are very keen, and we will insist to continue and to be very keen with the negotiations," Mohammed said.

Meanwhile, al-Shabab threatened Sunday to launch an offensive against the government as it reinforces positions around the capital, Mogadishu.

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