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Rift Valley Institute

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Somali President on al-Shabaab: ‘We’ll talk to any Somali citizen who renounces violence’

H. E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of Somalia’s Federal Government, has stressed that restoration of security is his key priority. Speaking to RVI Fellow Sally Healy during an official visit to London for talks with the British government, he said that, in the short term, ‘the roads, the communities, and the markets’ should be made safe. In the long term, he added, the Somali state should control ‘the whole country, whether it’s the land, the sea, or the air: that is the ultimate security that we are seeking’. The president also discussed dialogue with al-Shabaab, saying that his government’s doors were ‘open for those who want to denounce violence and get back to the mainstream of society’. But he emphasized: ‘We have nothing to do with the foreign elements within al-Shabaab’. On the presence of outside military forces, he said: ‘This is not a sustainable project … We are expecting that old practices will be changed. We are the Somali government and we determine the type of assistance we want, and where and when we want it.’ On his country’s political future, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud stated: ‘As President of Somalia, I will be working to make Somalia a federal state.’ ‘What kind of federalism,’ he added, ‘how many federal states, the level of power-sharing between the centre and the peripheries, all these are discussions that will happen soon.’

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