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Somalia picks new prime minister

June 24, 2011 at 1:33 PM

MOGADISHU, Somalia, June 24 (UPI) -- Somalia's president has appointed a Harvard-educated prime minister who said he would try to revive the country's war-wrecked economy.

President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed named Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, who pledged to establish better security in a country that has been virtually without a functioning government for 20 years, The New York Times reported Friday.

Ali, who holds a master's degree in public administration from Harvard, a master's degree in economics from Vanderbilt and a Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University, had been serving as deputy prime minister.

He replaces Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, forced out of Somalia's transitional government this month in a United Nations-backed deal to resolve an internal political dispute, the Times reported.

The president praised Ali, whose academic background is in international trade and public finance.

"He is a good man," the president said. "I hope he will improve the situation of Somalia."

Somalia's Transitional Federal Government controls only a small area of the capital Mogadishu. Clan militias and Islamist insurgents rule much of the rest of the country and pirates operate in Somalia's seas.

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