19 May 2007 04:24

SOMALIA WATCH

 
SW News
  • Title: [SW News]( BBC Monitoring / Ayaamaha)  EGYPTIAN ENVOY DENIES PERSUADING AYDID TO BOYCOTT DJIBOUTI TALKS
  • From:[]
  • Date :[23-Jul-2000 12:00:00 am]

EGYPTIAN ENVOY DENIES PERSUADING AYDID TO BOYCOTT DJIBOUTI TALKS
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom ; 23-Jul-2000 12:00:00 am 

The Egyptian ambassador to Somalia has denied accusations that Egypt persuaded Somali faction leader Husayn Aydid to boycott the ongoing Somali reconciliation conference in Djibouti. In an interview, the envoy called on those making the claim to produce evidence and stressed that his country supported the Djibouti peace initiative. The following are excerpts from the interview published by Somali newspaper `Ayaamaha' on 23rd July

We have been able to interview the Egyptian ambassador [Salah Halim] and get his comments about the latest accusations by the Djibouti government against the Egyptian government.

[Ayaamaha] You have been vehemently accused of being behind the failure by the Djibouti government delegation to take along Husayn Aydid [to the Somali conference in Arta]. What is your reaction?

[Ambassador Halim] We in Egypt strongly support the Djibouti initiative and we confirmed this when President Ismael Omar Gelle met our president. As for me, my job is to translate this policy. I am not an individual acting according to his whims. I am not responsible for the Djibouti delegation's failure. It is Husayn Aydid himself who decided not to go to Djibouti.

[Q] You arrived in Mogadishu on the same day the Djibouti delegation arrived. Is this not suspicious?

[A] I have been to Mogadishu many times and my current visit is not actually linked to political matters. I came to see what we can do to rehabilitate part of Somalia's education system, to provide health services for Mogadishu residents and to set up training courses for female health workers.

[Q] As we know there are plans to set up a Somali national government. Would it not appear strange that you should be talking about education and health, when such as a government is not in place?

[A] We cannot wait until a government is established because people are suffering due to lack of education, diseases and many other problems. We are committed to providing all the assistance that we can. However, we support the establishment of a government. [passage omitted: about Egyptian schools in Somaliland and Puntland].

[Q] There are demonstrations going on to protest against the Egyptian government and its Somalia policy. How would you defend yourself?

[A] This is what I want to say: Anyone accusing the Egyptian government should come up with evidence. The Djibouti delegation, which refused my request for a meeting, should blame itself and find out why it failed to achieve its objective. I also want to state that we are ready to provide political and financial backing for the conference in Djibouti..

Source: 'Ayaamaha', Mogadishu, in Somali 23 Jul 00 p 5.


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