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Arab League Welcomes SOMALIA'S First


Arab League Secretary General Esmat Abdel-Meguid on Tuesday welcomed the inauguration of Somalia's first parliament in a decade and lauded the move as a success of the Somali people.

Abdel-Meguid hailed the organization of the transition parliament as "a basic pillar for the restoration of a united Somali state," saying that the Somali people have "achieved an important success in the reconciliation process."

He called on the Somali factions to "work seriously, honestly and interactively to help Somalia restore its status as an active Arab, regional and international entity."

The pan-Arab forum chief paid tribute to the leading role played by Djiboutian President Ismael Omar Guelleh in hammering out the Somali peace plan.

The Arab League is ready to do whatever it can to back Somalia's further steps in the reconciliation process, and urges the international community to provide political and economic support to help Somalia fulfill its goals of reuniting the country, Abdel- Meguid said. Somalia has been in division since the 1991 fall of President Siad Barre.

On August 13, the country's first parliament in a decade was inaugurated in Arta, Djibouti, after 100 days of talks sponsored by Guelleh.

A Somali central government is expected to come into being by early September


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