newly-elected President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan promised
to "serve all the Somali people" as he was sworn in Sunday
to lead the deeply-divided country, Djibouti television said.
58, a former interior minister under the late dictator Mohamed
Siad Barre, was elected early Saturday by a transitional parliament
sitting in the resort town of Arta, some 20 miles outside
Djibouti. A member of the Hawiye clan, he is the country's
first president in almost a decade.
African country has been ruled by rival warlords since the
1991 overthrow of Mohamed Siad Barre. His election is one
of the key stages of a Djibouti-sponsored reconciliation process,
begun with the inauguration of the transitional parliament
earlier this month.
serve all the Somali people according to my ability," Salat
promised, in a high-profile ceremony attended by several foreign
leaders including Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, and
presidents Omar al-Beshir of Sudan, Ali Abdallah Saleh of
Yemen and Issaias Afeworki of Eritrea. Three warlords in the
Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday denounced Salat's election
and vowed to fight him. Salat promised to talk with regions
which had not taken part in the peace and reconciliation process.
respect the territorial integrity of Somalia and I will talk
to the regions that are currently in peace but did not join
the Somali peace initiative," he said. Two self-declared republics
inside Somalia, Somaliland in the northwest and Puntland in
the northeast refused to take part in the peace talks, with
the Somaliland parliament saying it was "treasonable" to attend
was represented at the ceremony by Cooperation Minister Charles
Josselin, Italy by foreign ministry official Maurizio Melani
and Egypt and Kenya by their deputy foreign ministers.
and the United States sent ambassadors. Salat, who between
1973 and 1990 was successively minister of industry, trade,
labor, information and the interior, is now expected to name
a new government.
will first sit in the Somali town of Baidoa, until security
improves in Mogadishu, which is divided up between rival militia