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Somalia Offers Olive Branch to Warring Factions


Somalia's new government of President Abdiqassim Salat Hassan has offered an olive branch to all the warring groups to bring about everlasting peace in the country, Prime Minister Ali Khalif Galayadh said at the weekend.

The Star of the Horn newspaper, which is published in Nairobi by the Central Africa News Agency, quoted Galayadh as arguing that the fragmentation of Somalia is not in the interest of Somalis or the international community. Somalia has for the past decade been involved in a bloody inter-clan civil strife, in which several warlords have been fighting for the control of the country since the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991.

"My government is currently working towards the reconstruction of Somalia and is very encouraged by the support we have had so far from the Somali businessmen, the donor community and the friends of Somalia," he said.

But Galayadh warned the warring groups that the government would not show any leniency to anybody encouraging or inciting chaos.

"We will not initiate confrontation, but we will defend our country as best we can," he said. He said his government knows the groups currently fighting it and those responsible for two recent assassinations in his country. "I wish to remind those interested in destabilising the present establishment that the government is enjoying great support from a majority of Somalis. And if they try to fight the government, they will be properly resisted," he warned.

He dismissed those bent on killing the administrators of the government as terrorists, murderers and assassins. He called on the press to refer to them as such. Galayadh, who had just ended an official visit to Kenya where he held fruitful talks with President Daniel arap Moi, said he was happy that Somalia's neighbours are supportive of his new government. Many embassies would soon be opened in Mogadishu, he added.

During the talks, which included Kenya's Foreign Minister Bonaya Godana, the two countries agreed to reopen their embassies in each other's capitals. He said his government was motivated by the support, and pledged his government's protection for all envoys.

"We need diplomats and political support," he said. He said Hassan was working towards closer ties with Ethiopia and had held talks with President Meles Zenawi. "Ethiopia has certain concerns, and we cannot afford mistakes and misunderstanding with Ethiopia," he added.

Galayadh thanked Djibouti for her patience in helping Somalia by organising and hosting the Arta talks that ushered in the new government in Somalia. "This has helped us to get out of a very difficult situation that no one else wanted to concern oneself with," he noted.

"I do not know of any country that would be willing to do what Djibouti did for us. Right now Somalia is back on the right path to peace and progress and wants to rejoin the Inter- Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the other regional organisations," he added.


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