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At the UN, Somalia's Gedi Asks for $32 Million, Denies Restricting Opponents' Travel
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN
UNITED NATIONS, June 28 - Somali citizens, even members of the parliament, "cannot just overnight go to the airport" and leave the country, Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi said Thursday at the UN.
Inner City Press twice asked Gedi about some of those blocked from traveling. The first time, Gedi said "your question is truthless."
The second time, confronted with the names of Osman Ali Hassan Atto and Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig , Gedi said, "They didn't have permission from parliament." Asked if they would now be given permission, Gedi said "that is between the MPs and the Speaker."
Former defense minister Col. Barre "Hirale" Adan Shire, who was targeted with a car bomb earlier this week, has accused Gedi and President Yusuf of being behind it . Inner City Press asked Gedi about the charge. "Normal banditry," he said in response.
Currently in Somalia there are 1500 Ugandan troops, Gedi said. There have been pledges of troops for an African Union force, from Burundi, Ghana, Malawi, Benin and Nigeria. One correspondent asked if during Gedi's talks with the UN Security Council, any other country had expressed a willingness to contribute troops to a UN force.
Gedi answered that the time to contribute would be if and when the Security Council passes a resolution authorizing a UN force for Somalia. Given the UN's experience in Somalia in the early 1990s, and the continued violence there, such a move by the Security Council appears unlikely.
Speaking to reporters Thursday morning, the UK's Permanent Representative to the UN Emyr Jones Parry said, "we will support" a UN peacekeeping force for Somalia if Gedi "goes out and promotes national reconciliation."
Gedi later confirmed that the budget for the twice-postponed National Reconciliation Congress is $32 million, of which $8 million has now been pledged by the European Commission and the United States. (The question of who has been paying the TFG's police was not able to be asked, but the question is pending.) Gedi said that the meeting will begin on July 15 in Mogadishu. We'll see.
For now, the proposed budget of the National Reconciliation Congress, as provided to Inner City Press by Mogadishu sources, who say that the numbers are inflated --
NATIONAL RECONCILIATION CONGRESS BUDGET
In US dollars USS
I. PREPARATORY ACTIVITIES: 250.000.00
II. OFFICIAL LAUNCHING OF NRC ACTIVITIES 4,000.000.00
III. ESTABLISHMENT OF NRC FACILITIES 6,000.000.00
IV. NRC GENERAL MEETING 8,400.000.00
V. PUBLICATION AND DISTRIBUTION 50,000.00 OF NRC RESOLUTIONS
Estimated Budget for the Regional/District Governance and Reconciliation Councils as follow-up of the NRC at National Level (58% of twenty million six hundred eighty) 12,000,000
GRAND TOTAL 32,680,000
Source: Inner City Press