‘Twenty years of lawlessness is enough’

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io news pic Abdiweli Mohamed Ali REUTERS Somalia's Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Abdiweli attends a news conference after meeting with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at the Commision's Headquarters in Brussels.

Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali said on Wednesday the country was entering an era of peace and stability after two decades of unrest, on the eve of a major conference to discuss its future.

Speaking in London where world powers meet on Thursday to seek a solution to the Horn of Africa nation's problems, Ali said the weak western-backed government was pushing back the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebel movement.

“There's a huge improvement in the area of security,” Ali told BBC radio.

“We are moving from an era of warlordism, terrorism, extremism and piracy, and we are moving into an era of peace, stability and normalcy.

“Twenty years of lawlessness, violence and chaos is enough. Somalis are ready to move on. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

He added: “We are getting rid of the Shebab in the southern part of the country,” he said of the Islamist rebels, who were driven out of the Somali capital Mogadishu six months ago but who still control large parts of the south.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN chief Ban Ki-moon are among those attending Thursday's conference, which aims to agree international action to end the unrest in Somalia.

The war-torn nation has been without an effective government for 21 years, is blighted by famine and has become a global piracy hub.

“It's going to take a while for life to get to what it was back before the collapse of the state,” Ali said. “But, surely but slowly, we are improving.”

“Somalis are entrepreneurial people. They are very creative, and as soon as they get a little bit of normalcy and peace again, they are back to business.”

Ali repeated his request for a “Marshall Plan” for Somalia, similar to the huge aid programme provided by the US to Europe after World War II.

“For us, it's unusual for the UK prime minister - a very good guy from a good country, and a good friend of Somalia - to call a conference on Somalia without that conference becoming a gamechanger,” he said. “We expect a lot.” - AFP

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