Press Releases

    SG/SM/9541
    AFR/1052
    15 October 2004

    Secretary-General Says Inauguration of Transitional President of Somalia Is Hopeful Development after Country’s Decade of Problems

    NEW YORK, 14 October (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of a message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan today to the inauguration in Nairobi of the President of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (delivered by Mohamed Sahnoun, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa):

    It gives me great pleasure to send my greetings to the heads of State, regional and other leaders and representatives gathered in Nairobi to witness the inauguration of Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as the Transitional President of Somalia.  For a country that has been beset with violence, and which has lacked effective national governance structures, for more than a decade, this is a significant and hopeful development indeed.

    I would like to commend the dedication of the Somali delegates who persevered for two years before successfully bringing the Somali National Reconciliation Conference, held under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, to a successful conclusion.

    I would also like to commend the outgoing President of the former Transitional National Government, Abdikassim Salad Hassan, and other leaders for their statesmanship and for giving their oath to support the new President and the rebuilding of the country.

    And I look forward to the formation, in the near future, of a Transitional Federal Government capable of beginning reconciliation and reconstruction in a spirit of consensus and dialogue.

    The Somali peace process is an example of what can be achieved through regional cohesiveness and vision.  I would like to pay particular tribute to former President Moi, who started this initiative, as well as his successor, President Kibaki, who kept the drive for peace alive.

    We must also give due recognition to the countries of IGAD -- their leaders, ministers of foreign affairs and special envoys, as well as the facilitation committee chaired by Mr. Kiplagat.  The European Commission, the African Union, the League of Arab States and others also played a crucial role in making this achievement possible through their political and financial support.

    We now need to do everything possible to sustain this momentum.  Formidable challenges remain.  It will be crucial for gains in the political arena to be accompanied by tangible improvements in the security situation.  This would do much to ensure that the political agreement, and the Government formed on its basis, will receive the full support of the people of Somalia and the international community.

    This peace process belongs to the Somali people.  No outside party can replace their genuine commitment to reconciliation and peace.  International support, important as it is, can do only so much.  Somalis themselves must show seriousness and good faith if they are to re establish peace and stability in their country.  I urge all Somalis and their leaders to support the new Transitional Federal Government.  And I urge the international community to stand ready to assist.  The United Nations will certainly do its part.  In that spirit of solidarity, I wish you every success on the rest of this journey.

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