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New president asks for peace

Somalia's newly elected president, Abdiqasim Salad Hasan said the country's "warlords" should abide by the wishes of the people, who wanted peace and stability.

Speaking in an interview with the BBC on Thursday, he added that he was not worried about them being opposed to his new interim administration. Speaking from the capital, Mogadishu, he said his first priority would be to ensure the safety and security of every Somali.

He said the militias should be retrained and provided the skills to earn a living. On the self-declared regions of Puntland and Somaliland, whose leaders boycotted the Djibouti-hosted peace process and do not recognise the election of Abdiqassim, he reiterated the sanctity of Somalia unity.

Asked about his prominent profile under former president Muhammad Siyad Barreh, he said most politicians, military men and intellectuals had served under him, including those who were now criticising him.

He also said he planned to visit Kismayo, Belet-weyn, and Baidoa. He denied there were security problems in Kismayo, and said he had received invitations from Kismayo to visit the contested southern port.

Washington pleased at developments

The United States said this week it was "encouraged" by the election of President Abdiqasim Salad Hasan and the creation of a new interim administration in Somalia.

In widely reported statements, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Sunday's swearing-in of the new president and the establishment of an interim parliament, the Transitional National Assembly (TNA) "were positive developments."

In his daily briefing on Thursday, Boucher said "we're encouraged by the results of the peace conference that was held in Djibouti.

The establishment of a transitional government for Somalia, including the election of the president, are positive developments." Boucher urged the new government "to reach out to those areas of Somalia, such as Somaliland, which have already done much to reestablish stability, security and representative local administration".

He said all Somalia's should support the new president.

"The key to success of the newly created Somalia government will depend on whether or not it reflects the will of the Somalia people and its ability to govern effectively," he said.

Somalia's new president has already received public backing from the United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League.


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