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UN summit marks end to Somalia's diplomatic isolation

Ending nearly a decade of diplomatic isolation, Somalia's newly elected president, Abdiqasim Salad Hasan, gathered with world leaders in New York on Wednesday for the opening of the UN Millennium Summit.

In remarks carried by news agencies, he appealed to the UN and the international community to let "bygones be bygones" and provide rehabilitation funds to help rebuild the country.

"I am so happy that we are back here after over 10 years of absence from the international scene," Abdiqasim Salad told Reuters.

"The message we bring is one of peace for Somalia, peace for the Horn of Africa and for Africa as a whole. Let bygones be bygones and let us start a new relationship between ourselves, with our neighbours and the international community."

The reports said the Somali flag was raised at the UN headquarters for the first time in 10 years as Abdiqasim Salad prepared for his speech before the summit on Friday.

He is one of the 150 participants at two-day summit. Abdiqasim Salad, also apologised to the UN for the bloody clashes between UN peacekeepers and Somalis in the 1990s.

"Mistakes were made on both sides but I would like to apologise to the United Nations and the world for the errors committed by Somalis," he said.


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