Umar Arteh Ghalib

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Umar Arteh Ghalib
عمر عرتي غالب
7th Prime Minister of Somalia
In office
24 January 1991 – May 1993*
Preceded by Muhammad Hawadle Madar
Succeeded by Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal
Personal details
Born 1930 (age 86–87)
Political party Somali Youth League
*de facto to 3 January 1997

Umar Arteh Ghalib or Omer Carte Qalib (Somali: Cumar Carte Qaalib, Arabic: عمر عرتي غالب‎‎) (born 1930[1]) is a prominent Somali politician. He was Prime Minister of Somalia from January 24, 1991 to May 1993.[2] Ghalib was born in Somalia in 1930. He is a member of the Habr Awal Isaaq clan, and belonged to the United Somali Congress.

Omer Arteh Ghalib has one of the most distinguished diplomatic service careers in Somali history. His diplomatic career spans 30 years in international politics. He is remembered by Somalis as an educator, administrator, politician, and parliamentarian. Mr. Arteh has educated a substantial number of the Somali elite. He is a beloved and respected politician who is notable for his honesty, righteousness, and his love of his country. Mr. Arteh is acknowledged as one of the most outstanding advocates for the liberation of Africa. Africans from Djibouti, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Eritrea, just to mention a few, remember him as a liberator. Acclaimed as the bridge between Africa and the Arab world, he is accredited for making the former Somalia part of the Arab world. He is remembered by Muslims all over the world for his remarkable contribution as a spokesman and secretary-general for the organization of Islamic Countries (OIC).


Ghalib was born in Northern Somalia. He is a member of the Habr Awal Isaaq clan, and belonged to the United Somali Congress.[1][3]

From 1969 to 1977, Ghalib served as Foreign Minister.[1] As Foreign Minister, in January he was President of the United Nations Security Council. On 24 January 1991, he was appointed by then President of Somalia Siad Barre as the last Prime Minister of Somalia under the latter's regime.[2]

After Barre's ouster, the next president, Ali Mahdi Muhammad, reappointed Ghalib as prime minister,[3] a position Ghalib would hold until May 1993.[2]


Mr. Arteh is the eldest son of a devout Muslim family of five. He started Elementary and intermediate education in Hargeisa and completed Secondary education in Sheikh, and higher education in England. His father Mr. Arteh Ghalib, was a sailor in merchant ships and later an interpreter for the British. His father’s long absence helped him mature early. He started his career as a school master and then headmaster of elementary schools of Las-Anod, Berbera and Hargeisa respectively. Just before he went to UK in 1956, he was appointed as vice principal of Sheikh Intermediate School, a great honor, since Sheikh was the birthplace of education in Somaliland. After his success in Sheikh, he went to England for higher Education. On his return in 1958 he was promoted as the first principal of Gabileh Intermediate Boarding School.

Minister of Foreign Affairs(1969-1976[edit]

Mr. Arteh is most famous as head of Somalia’s Foreign Ministry. During his term of office, Somalia saw itself transformed from a small country to a leader in Third World politics. All credit is due to this one man, who as Foreign Minister brought the world to Somalia, and successfully mediated Tanzania and Uganda when the two countries were at war. Apart from holding different International posts representing his country, he organized numerous conferences that were held in Mogadishu. These included:

East and Central Africa Summit, Mogadishu 1972, this regional conference had paved the way for the OAU summit that was held in Mogadishu. Statesmen including Emperor Haile Salaise of Ethiopia, came to Somalia. This was a turning point in the relationship between Somalia and Ethiopia, and saw for the first time an Ethiopian Emperor paying a friendly visit to Somalia.

Security Council Meeting, in Addis Ababa 1972, for the first and the last time so far, the Security Council members met outside New York in Addis Ababa, to discuss the question of Liberation of Africa. As President of the Security Council, it gave him a great sense of satisfaction to Chair the Security Council meeting in Africa, and discuss the liberation of Africa.

Making use of this opportunity, he arranged for the members to visit Mogadishu, Somalia. Somalia’s international prominence was apparent from the Security Council members’ visit to Somalia. Included in the members was former US President George Bush who then was US Ambassador to the United Nations in New York.

The OAU Summit, in Mogadishu 1974, the crowning achievement of Mr. Arteh’s relentless efforts to turn Somalia to a Third World power came in 1974, when he arranged to hold the OAU Summit in Mogadishu. In that year, he was the Chairman of the African Liberation Committee, Chairman of the OAU Conference.

Membership in the Arab League, 1974, this historic feat epitomizes his term as head of the Somali Foreign Service. Mr. Arteh is known to be the bridge of Afro-Arab relations. He is credited to have taken Somalia singly into the Arab league, a lifetime achievement. It was his personal friendship with the Arab leaders, in addition to the fact that Somalia has always been part of the Arab world that influenced them to accept Somalia as its newest member.

Secretary-General and Spokesman of the OIC from 1972 - 1975, while serving as Foreign Minister, he carried out additional responsibilities as the Secretary-general and Spokesman for the OIC for a period of three years. As Secretary-general of the OIC, Mr. Arteh laid down the foundations of the organization. The Organization under his leadership, mediated successfully in 1972 between Pakistan/Bangladesh and the Philippine Government and MORO Liberation front.


  1. ^ a b c "Umar Arteh Ghalib". Contemporary Africa Database. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. 
  2. ^ a b c Somalia at
  3. ^ a b "Somalia Gets New Interim President". Mogadishu, Somalia. Associated Press. January 29, 1991. Retrieved March 29, 2016. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Muhammad Hawadle Madar
Prime Minister of Somalia
January 24, 1991–May 1993
Succeeded by
vacant, 1997-2000