June 23, 2011 / 11:13 AM / in 8 years

UPDATE 1-Acting Somali prime minister named as PM

* Ali a former economics professor in the United States

* Predecessor forced out in political deal (Adds quotes, detail, background)

By Ibrahim Mohamed

MOGADISHU, June 23 (Reuters) - Somalia’s acting Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali was given the job full-time on Thursday by President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and will form a government whose goal will be to quash a rebellion.

“He is a good man and worked hard while he was the deputy for the former PM. I hope he will improve the situation of Somalia,” Ahmed said while announcing the appointment at a news conference in the capital Mogadishu.

Former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed was forced out by a deal struck this month in Kampala between the president and speaker of parliament that extended the beleaguered administration’s mandate by 12 months.

The Kampala agreement ended persistent wrangling between the two that had angered international donors, who are keen to see an acceleration in the pace of political reform and military gains against al Shabaab rebels linked to al Qaeda.

Somalia’s latest administration was due to be dissolved in August and the president, a former Islamist rebel leader, and speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, who covets the top job, were at loggerheads over what should happen then.

The government said Ali, who has also served as minister for planning and international cooperation, brings a breadth of experience to the job.

Like his predecessor, Ali comes from the Somali diaspora. Before joining Somalia’s transitional government, he was a professor of economics in the United States.

“Somalia is in a difficult situation, there is an economic crisis and insecurity. I hope I will succeed in overcoming all these problems. I urge the entire government and Somalis to help me achieve this,” the new prime minister said.

The Ministry of Information said in a statement that Ali would consult with members of parliament and clan elders as he embarked on forming his cabinet over the next few weeks. (Additional reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Editing by David Clarke) (For more Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: af.reuters.com/)

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