19 May 2007 04:24


SW News
  • Title: [SW News] (Reuters) Hassan: We do not Recognize Somaliland or Puntland
  • Posted by/on:[AMJ][Saturday, Sept. 2, 2000]


Somali President Pledges Dialogue to Unite Country


Story Filed: Saturday, September 02, 2000 5:07 AM EST
CAIRO (Reuters) - Newly-elected Somali President Abiqassem Salad Hassan said in comments published Saturday he does not recognize Somalia's breakaway provinces, but that he would use dialogue to try to unite the Horn of Africa country.

``We do no recognize Somaliland or Puntland or any 'lands' ...with a new colonialism behind them that aims to break Somalia into ministates,'' Hassan told the daily newspaper al-Ahram.

Somalia has been without a central government since 1991, when former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted and the African country dissolved into civil war and anarchy, with clan-based factions carving out rival fiefdoms.

``I don't want tribal wars to solve the problem of Somaliland, which we call the northeastern regions. We don't want civil or tribal wars in these regions which have security,'' he said.

Somalia's two northernmost provinces, Puntland and the former British protectorate of Somaliland, have enjoyed relative stability in the last nine years. But they opposed the Djibouti-sponsored peace process that saw Hassan elected president last week.

``We support dialogue and the people have chosen dialogue,'' Hassan was quoted as saying. ``I have sworn the oath to do what I can to maintain (Somalia's) unity and this is my position.''

A demonstration against the president Thursday in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa contrasted with celebrations in the Somali capital Mogadishu when Hassan returned Wednesday from Djibouti where a parliament-in-exile had elected him president.

Protesters burned Somali and Djibouti flags and denounced Hassan, a former deputy prime minister and interior minister in the regime of last Somali President Siad Barre. In Sanaa, prominent Somali warlords said after talks with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh Friday that they might resort to violence if reconciliation efforts with Hassan fail.

They called for a comprehensive, final reconciliation among all of the war-torn African state's factions, tribes, and politicians.

They were due to return to Somalia Saturday to start negotiations with other Somali opposition leaders on ways to complete the reconciliation process.

Since his election, Hassan has received support from Washington, the United Nations and the European Union. He was due to address the opening of an Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo Sunday, League officials said.

Copyright 2000 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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