President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan arrived in Cairo on Saturday
for his first official visit since his election last week,
sources said. Abdiqassim Salad was to address the opening
of an Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Sunday,
Arab League officials said earlier.
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. Abdiqassim Salad was also expected
to have talks with Egyptian officials.
and the Arab League have issued statements of support for
the new president, who served in Siad Barre's government.
published in Egypt's daily newspaper al-Ahram on Saturday,
Abdiqassim Salad said he did not recognise Somalia's breakaway
provinces of Puntland and Somaliland, but said he would use
dialogue to try to unite the country. Somalia's two northernmost
provinces, Puntland and the former British protectorate of
Somaliland, have enjoyed relative stability in the past nine
the peace process sponsored by Djibouti that led to Abdiqassim
Salad's election. "We support dialogue and the people have
chosen dialogue," Abdiqassim Salad was quoted as saying.
sworn the oath to do what I can to maintain unity and this
is my position." A demonstration against the president on
Thursday in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa contrasted with
celebrations in the Somali capital Mogadishu when he returned
on Wednesday from Djibouti where he was elected by Somalia's
prominent Somali warlords said after talks with Yemeni President
Ali Abdullah Saleh on Friday they might resort to violence
if reconciliation efforts with Abdiqassim Salad fail.