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Somali President Names New Prime Minister


FILE - Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke speaks to journalists about Somali developments during a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 8, 2010.

FILE - Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke speaks to journalists about Somali developments during a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 8, 2010.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has named a new prime minister, amid international pressure to end chronic political infighting.

The president appointed Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke to the post Wednesday in a ceremony at the presidential palace in Mogadishu.

Sharmarke, who must be approved by the Somali parliament, would be Mohamud's third prime minister in the past two years. His precedessor Abdiweli Sheikh Mohamed was voted out on December 6 after a dispute with the president about a Cabinet reorganization.

Diplomats have warned the frequent disputes between Somalia's leaders could undermine the country's recovery from more than 20 years of lawlessness and conflict.

The U.N.-backed government is trying to stabilize the country in the face of continued insurgency by militant group al-Shabab.

Earlier this month, U.N. envoy Nicholas Kay said the country needs a "significant period of stability" and said he hopes Somali leaders can reach agreement on how to avoid political crises.

The United States has called for Somali leaders to "rise above political differences that divert from the important work of unifying the country" under a federal framework.

Sharmarke is currently Somalia's ambassador to the United States. He previously served 18 months as prime minister in 2009 and 2010 under a different government. In brief remarks Wednesday, he thanked President Mohamud and pledged that he will work to bring about lasting peace and democratic elections by 2016.

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