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Egypt supports new Somali president, Libya cautious

Egypt expressed support for the new president of Somalia on Monday, calling on other countries to stand beside the new government of the war-torn African country, but Libya assumed a more cautious stance.

"Egypt hopes these steps will be the beginning of a new phase bringing to an end the suffering of Somalis that has lasted 10 years," a foreign ministry statement said.

"Egypt calls on all countries and concerned parties to stand by the new-born Somali legitimate (government) and offer all assistance possible to rebuild the institutions of the state."

Abdiqassim Salad Hassan was elected on Saturday by a parliament-in-exile formed less than two weeks ago in the tiny Red Sea nation of Djibouti as part of a peace initiative which could not have been safely convened on Somali soil.

Libya's official in charge of African affairs Ali Tureiki suggested support should come when Hassan had the backing of all factions in Somalia, a member of the Cairo-based Arab League.

"We hope a government will be formed, but there are some elements who refuse to join this initiative," he told reporters after talks in Cairo with Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa.

"We will try to convince these elements to realize reconciliation.

Then we will have a role as Arabs to rebuild Somalia." Hassan served as deputy prime minister and interior minister in the government of former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, whose overthrow in 1991 was followed by a civil war between clan-based factions. Some of them have reportedly threatened to oppose Hassan

 


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