of the self-styled autonomous Somali state of Puntland on Friday ruled out any
prospect of talks with his old foe Abdulkassim Salat Hassan in his capacity as
Somalia's first president in years.
"I will not talk to Salat as a president of Somalia but maybe as a clan leader
from Hawiye political factions."
Yousuf Ahmed told AFP here, again rejecting Salat's portfolio as "non-existent."
In 1978, Ahmed, now 67, founded the rebel Somali Salvation Democratic Front to
fight the regime of Mohamed Siad Barre, the president ousted in 1991 and under
whom Salat served as deputy prime minister and interior minister.
election last month by members of a newly formed transitional parliament, meeting
in neighbouring Djibouti, delivered Somalia its first president since 1991.
intervening years saw infrastructure crumble in Somalia and Salat has stressed
his priority is to create a government and reintegrate Puntland and Somaliland,
which declared itself independent in 1991.
Illustrating the importance of clans, or bloodlines, in Somalia, Ahmed suggested
Salat should "first establish a regional government for his clansmen before pointing
his hostile fingers in the most stable parts of Somalia, such as Puntland and
advise Salat to establish Hawiyeland in the Mogadishu area," Ahmed said. Salat
is of the Hawiye clan, while Ahmed, like most of Puntland's population, is of
the Darod clan and one of its most powerful members.
to remarks made by Salat's associates that Ahmed might be offered the placatory
post of prime minister of Somalia, the puntland leader balked. "I will not accept
any political compromise with Salat on such basis.
He is not a president so how he can appoint a prime minister?" Ahmed described
the new parliament, the fruit of a Djibouti-led reconciliation conference, as
a "fundamentalist-infested organ that can destabilise the security of greater
"183 of the 245 members of the parliament are religious extremists.
Salat himself is an Islamic fundamentalist who vowed to destroy Puntland and Somaliland,"
dismissed rumours that he had been importing weapons in violation of a UN embargo,
but admitted sending more security people to towns in Puntland.
is no need for us to import weapons as Puntland has enough military stock to defend
it is our responsibility to strengthen security to ensure our people's safety
from the Djibouti government's misguided elements," Ahmed said.
said he would accept negotiation with all Somali factions if the "Djibouti-manipulated
parliament, transitional charter and Salat are scrapped." Since arriving in Nairobi
last week, Ahmed has met prominent Somali warlords, such as Hussein Mohammed Aidid
and Osman Hassan Ali "Atto", who have also expressed their fierce opposition to
all that came out of the Djibouti process.