Monday, June 8, 2009

Somali president: real risk of a network of Al Qaeda in Somalia

The President of Somalia Sheikh Sharif Ahmed has warned against the “real risk” that Al Qaeda makes his country a “strategic zone” where to “create a network”, as it did in Afghanistan, in an interview published Sunday in the Italian business daily ‘Il Sole 24 ore.’

  • “Al Qaeda sees Somalia as a strategic area other than Afghanistan, where to set up its network. We have become a priority. We have a very long coastline. It is a real risk,” said Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, who will be in Italy Tuesday for an international conference on the situation in Somalia.

    “It is no more Somalia of the 90’s. Today, there are cells of Al Qaeda in the country. The problem is not only Somalian but global, said he. For him, “the international community has a duty to protect the Somali people and the Somali government from Al Qaeda; it must do so for the interest of all.”

    Stressing the “long and good relationship” between his country and Italy, the President says that the Italian government has a duty to do everything it can to help us.” “Europe is committed to help us, but we want Italy to become our bridge to Europe.”

    The Head of State believes that a stable government would reduce piracy. “The pirates are from the mainland. Once control over the area is insured, we can combat it effectively.”

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