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UPDATED: 13:41, September 01, 2004
Somalia is grateful to China for her support, Interview
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August in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, is just like the golden autumn in Beijing. Abdikassim Salat Hassan, president of Somalia's Transitional Government, who is attending the 14th reconciliation conference held in Somalia, had a special interview with People's Daily's reporter in Nairobi, Kenya.

Photo:Abdikassim Salat Hassan, president of Somalia's Transitional Government
Abdikassim Salat Hassan, president of Somalia's Transitional Government
First of all, President Abdikassim Salat Hassan expressed his warm-hearted greetings and heartfelt thanks to the Chinese government and people on behalf of the Somalia government and people and in the name of himself. He said, the friendship between Somalia and China goes back to ancient times. Some 600 years ago, Chinese fleet visited Somalia and stayed at Mogadishu. There are still some relics in Mogadishu. Somalia actively supported the restoration of China's seat to the United Nations and has persisted in the principle of one China. Since the diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1960, China has rendered great assistance to Somalia in the fields of building, garments and agriculture. "The State Theatre, Capital Gymnasium, Capital Hospital and more than 1,000 kilometers of highways China has helped to build in Somalia are household names in our country, and the quality of which has enjoyed great popularity among the people of Somalia. We have all along thanked the Chinese government and people for their great assistance and support to the Somalia government and people. I hope People's Daily will convey our warmest thanks to the Chinese government and people.

Born in 1941, Abdikassim graduated from the biological department of Moscow University. In 1973 when he was 32 years old, he started to be a government minister. He successively held the posts of industrial minister, guide minister of news and nation, sports minister, minister of public engineering, minister of culture and higher education and minister of economic and state affairs. In September of 1990, he held the posts of deputy prime minister and minister of internal affairs. He was in exile when civil war broke out in Somalia. On August 26, 2000, he was elected to be president of Somalia's Transitional Government. "I was luckily invited to visit China in February 1978 and had an interview with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. Deng's elegant demeanor of a great man left me a deep impression.

When talking of the situation in Somalia, Abdikassim said since the outbreak of the civic war in 1990, the international community has paid close attention to and supported the Somalia peace process. The UN Security Council discussed issues and passed resolutions on Somalia for many times. At the same time, UN Security Council appealed to all countries to strictly abide by the related UN resolutions and reiterated Somalia's sovereignty and territory integrity. It also appealed to all countries to stop the interference in the internal affairs of Somalia. He pointed out, "As a permanent member of UN Security Council, China has always showed great solicitude for the support of Somalia's peace process and taken active part in UN talks on Somalia issue. China has acted as UN Security Council coordinator on Somalia issue since 2003 and has resolutely supported the dispatch of peacekeeping forces to Somalia. For all these, we express our deep thanks once more. Since 1992, Chinese government and people have provided our country with medicine and material assistance. We will remember this forever.

Four years ago, Somalia National Reconciliation Conference with non-governmental forces as its main body was held in Djibouti. The conference passed the transitional charter, elected the first parliament and first president of Somalia after the breakout of the civil war ten years ago and founded the Somalia's Transitional Government. Since the founding of the new government, a series of administrative programs has been put forward, including the restoration of the order in Somalia's capital, disarming militia and promoting bribes' reconciliation. At the same time Somalia has actively sought the recognition and support from the international community. However, the transitional government composed mainly of civilian officials met with the refusal from all warlords at home and their joint resistance. It could not carry out work effectively and Somalia was still in the state of the separatist warlord regimes. Abdikassim said the Somalia Reconciliation Conference has been held for 13 rounds. The ongoing 14th conference was started two years ago. The conference is mainly focused on the issue of the founding of Somalia Federal Government. He emphasized all political and military factions; tribes and public representatives attended the conference. New parliament and president will be elected at the conference and a new cabinet will be formed.

He thinks that Somalia has a sound foundation for achieving peace in a whole country. The foundation shows in the following two aspects: firstly, Somalia has a tradition, a religion, a culture, a language and its writing system. It is favorable to enhance cohesive force and boost coordination and unity among various tribes; secondly after 10 years of war, the people of the whole country get tired of the state of anarchy and long for peaceful and equable life.

When speaking of the challenges the coming federal government is going to face, Abdikassim said. "First, all parties should work harmoniously within the new government framework; second is to set up a unified state army, collect weapons and disarm militia; third, restart to build the country. The infrastructure will be the first to start. It includes water and electricity, roads, schools and hospitals. He said in conclusion the reconstruction of Somalia couldn't be separated from the support from the international society. China is a country in the world with an important influence. China's engineering quality enjoys good reputation in Somalia. We are sincerely looking forward to China's joining in the reconstruction of Somalia and the friendship relations between our two countries will be further developed.

By People's Daily Online

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