US embassy cable - 04DJIBOUTI1392

NEW SOMALIAN PRESIDENT SPEAKS ON CHALLENGES FACING TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT

Identifier: 04DJIBOUTI1392
Wikileaks: View 04DJIBOUTI1392 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Djibouti
Created: 2004-11-01 10:39:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PREL PGOV PNAT PARM PTER PINS DJ SO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS DJIBOUTI 001392 
 
SIPDIS 
 
LONDON, PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PNAT, PARM, PTER, PINS, DJ, SO 
SUBJECT: NEW SOMALIAN PRESIDENT SPEAKS ON CHALLENGES FACING 
TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT 
 
1. (U) SUMMARY: Al Hayat a London based Arabic newspaper 
published 30 October an interview with the new President of 
Somalia. In the interview, widely read in Djibouti, he addressed 
several issues dealing with his return to Mogadishu, the 
disarmament process, terrorism in Somalia and the African Union 
military peacekeepers. He also touched on his hopes for relations 
with the United States of America, especially on the issue of 
counter-terrorism efforts. End Summary. 
 
2. (U) In an October 30th interview with the international Arabic 
paper Al Hayat, the newly elected president of Somalia, Abdillahi 
Youssouf Ahmed, reported that he will not to be able to go back 
to his country's capital for the time being. He commented that it 
would not be possible until peace and stability could prevail. 
Factors that could prevent that from happening are the wide 
spread presence of arms and munitions in the country. He 
mentioned some 55,000 armed militia personnel, 500 military 
vehicles and some 20 million weapons of different size exist in 
Somalia territory. The Somali president explained that for this 
reason, he needed international support to disarm militias and 
fight terrorism in Somalia. 
 
3. (U) On the issue of a possible terrorist presence in Somalia, 
Youssouf stated," There are numerous terrorist cells present in 
Somalia and this is caused by fourteen years of not having a 
government and we're trying to do whatever possible to track them 
down. When asked of the possibility of relations with the United 
States, he said" I'll work with everyone helping with the 
reconstruction of Somalia and the establishment of peace in the 
country." He continued, " We suffered the most from terrorism 
because terrorists are spread all over the country. We know that 
the United States is among the first nations that fought 
international terrorism. That's why I see no inconvenience for me 
and Americans to cooperate in eradicating this danger from our 
region and the world". 
 
4. (U) As Al Hayat reported, Youssouf said that the challenges 
facing the new government are enormous and they cannot be 
resolved while living outside the country. He said he would not 
go to Mogadishu right away but it would be possible to start 
working from another region in Somalia. "Somalia is not only 
Mogadishu", he said. In response to whether he would use Puntland 
as an alternate site for the new government, he said:" I can not 
move the government to my hometown. we'll choose another region 
within Somalia to begin the work". Regarding the timeframe of the 
new government return to Somalia, Youssouf commented:" I can not 
go to Somalia before I see the 30,000 peacekeeping forces I asked 
for from the African Union on the ground. I hope to see them in 
Somalia real soon". 
 
5. (U) Regarding the topic of Somaliland and the future relations 
between the two nations, Youssouf stated" We won't have a 
conflict with them nor ask them to join us by force. All we need 
is to choose the right time to engage in discussions to reach a 
peaceful solution.  I won't use violence even with those who 
opposed my election as president". 
 
6. (U) Speaking on his relations with Arab world, he said" I am 
going to Cairo at the beginning of the month to see the General 
secretary of the Arab League and present my propositions 
 
SIPDIS 
regarding assistance and support to build a new Somalia." 

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