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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 16:14, February 04, 2005
"Somalia looking forward to cordial cooperation with China'', Interview
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On February 1, the organs with the Somalia's transitional government in exile started moving back to their own country's capital -- Mogadishu, Somali from Nairobi, capital of Kenya. Before departure, Somalia Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi and its deputy prime minister and information minister expressed in their exclusive interview with a People's Daily reporter that the Somalia government is looking forward to a cordial cooperation with friendly China in the process of their peaceful reconstruction.

  • The government will be relocated in three groups and face unprecedented challenges.

    Through two and half years of peace talks the Somalia transitional government set up a new parliament, which selected chairman, president, prime minister, and cabinet from last September to January this year. Prime Minister Ali told the reporter, "We do not want a government in exile. Now the time is ripe for the new government to move back home. Starting from February 1 we will return home in batches and start to build our country peacefully''.

    According to their introduction, the new government will be back home in three batches: in the first batch, Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Geri will lead a team of Cabinet members and lawmakers based in Kenya back to Mogadishu, Somalia on February 1. The first group of members of parliament of the Kenyan-based Somali government left Nairobi on Tuesday (February 1) for Mogadishu in a move that marked the beginning of the new administration's relocation back home and at the same time set up a liaison center for the country in the capital; the main tasks for the second batch will be responsible for the return of parliamentarians and all the representatives attending the peace negotiations. They will be back at the suitable time; those who are left over at Nairobi will be back in the third batch. The deputy minister will be in charge of the work. They will be in charge of the necessary liaison and coordination work for the final return of the new government. It will be also convenient for the new government to get in touch with the international society. The deputy prime minister stressed that in view of the present situation in Somalia it is impossible for the new government to return home completely. So it will take about half a year to complete the process.

    People are generally concerned about the security problem in Somalia. Now the United Nations and the African Union have agreed to send peacekeeping force to Somalia and Uganda has first agreed to offer 2,000 peacekeepers to Somalia so as to guarantee the return of the new government. Judging from the present situation, the citizens in Mogadishu will welcome the return of the new government in order to end the 14-year-long anarchy. The people throughout the country long for living a stable and normal life and they are in the hope that the country will be put on an orderly development track. That is a favorable factor for the new government to return home.

    When talking of the new challenges facing the new government, the deputy prime minister pointed out that the new government would face all new challenges, which the new governments of any other countries in the world have never met before. He said, "Through years of war there are no troops and police in Somalia and the country is in anarchy. All the infrastructure facilities have been destroyed and it is hard for the new government to find an area to live at the Somalia's capital''. According to estimates, it will take at least half to one year for Somalia to be on the right track of peaceful development and reconstruction. It is the prime task for Somalia to restore domestic peace and collect the weapons scattered among the Somalia people and create a sound environment for the country's reconstruction. At the same time, the new government will be introduced to the people and peaceful importance will be publicized. Local governments at all levels will start to be set up while managerial institutions at all levels will be improved and a new national system will be established.

  • International support will be needed and China's assistance wins universal praise.

    The two leaders expressed that the Somalia's peace and construction cannot be separated from the support of the international society. "China is a big and influential country in the world we are very grateful to China for its support in offering the United Nations peacekeeping force to Somalia and have expressed the heartfelt thanks to the Chinese government and people for their assistance in Somalia tsunami disaster. Unfortunately Somalia becomes one of the countries suffering Tsunami disasters. And the disasters are more severe than expected. We cherish the Chinese sympathy for Somalia people and the assistance given by friendly China''.

    They pointed out that Somalia-China friendship goes back to the ancient times. More than 600 yeas ago Zheng He led his fleet to visit Somalia. After the founding of new China, The Chinese government has built a series of projects in Somalia involving the Grand National Theater, Capital Gymnasium, Capital Hospital and highways leading to the west and north parts of the country. The quality of the projects has won Somalia praise, becoming the best evidence for the friendship between the two countries. The senior people in Somalia have still clearly remembered the scenes when Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai visited Somalia 41 years ago. Among the representatives attending the peace talks many have greeted Premier Zhou Enlai and Chinese Marshal Chen Yi on the streets of Mogadishu even if they were children at that time. "Facts prove that China is a partner worthy of our reliance. China's construction levels and quality of commodities have won recognition from the people of Somalia. Somalia is on the way towards peace and development. Due to the 14-year-long civil war in Somalia, all infrastructure facilities and industrial and agricultural production were destroyed and it is very hard for Somalia to rebuild the country. As a result, a great amount of funds is required for the reconstruction. We are looking forward to the cooperation with friendly China in our national peaceful reconstruction and to the assistance and support from the Chinese government and people once again.

    By People's Daily Online

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