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Annan Hails Inauguration Of Somali President


Annan Hails Inauguration Of Somali Transitional President Ahmed

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today hailed the inauguration of Col. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as Transitional President of Somalia, calling it "a significant and hopeful development" in the Horn of Africa country that has lacked effective national governance structures for more than a decade.

"The Somali peace process is an example of what can be achieved through regional cohesiveness and vision," Mr. Annan said in a message delivered at the inauguration in Nairobi, Kenya, by his Special Adviser on Africa, Mohamed Sahnoun.

"We now need to do everything to sustain this momentum," he said, as he thanked individuals and regional groups for the supportive roles they had played during the negotiations.

"Formidable challenges remain," he pointed out. For the political agreement and the new Transitional Government to receive full support from Somalis and the international community, "it will be crucial for gains in the political arena to be accompanied by tangible improvements in the security situation."

He urged the international community to stand ready to assist Somalia and pledged that the United Nations would do its part, but he said the responsibility for restoring peace and stability in the country belonged to the Somalis themselves.

"No outside party can replace their genuine commitment to reconciliation and peace. International support, important as it is, can do only so much," he said.

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