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Cablegate: New Somalian President Speaks On Challenges Facing

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

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.

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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

regarding assistance and support to build a new Somalia."

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