The president of Somalia’s interim government says that the population of Somalia is “terrorized by a propagation campaign launched by the USA," which tries to present Somalia as a country that could become a shelter for Osama bin Laden and his followers.
President Abdikassim Salad Hassan said in his interview to Reuters in Sudan’s capital Khartoum that fear of US’s bombardments hampers peace efforts in the country. Washington considers Somalia as a potential target in the war against terrorism.
“The people are terrified by the threat of a US attack on the poor country that has been destroyed after a ten-year civil war," said the president. He stressed once again that none of bin Laden’s groups are located in Somalia. “We want the international community to help Somalia unite, so that our country will become a center for terrorism in the future.”
Speaking about resources designed for the struggle with terrorism, Somalia’s president mentioned the problems of the government: governmental officials have not been paid salaries for four months already, and the Ministry for Information has only one telephone line. He said thatthe feudal lords who want to throw off the central government are trying to profit by the USA's unexpected attention to Somalia. “For the sake of their selfish interests, they want the US to bomb Somalia so they can seize power, as the Northern Alliance did in Afghanistan.”
Abdikassim Salad Hassim says that Somalia is not like Afghanistan, the interim government is not like the Taliban, and he himself is not Mullah Mohammed Omar.
US officials visited the feudal lords, the opposition to Somalia’s government in the southern town of Baidoa.
President Abdikassim reminded the USA about the catastrophic consequences of its “humanitarian” mission in Somalia at the beginning of the 90s. It is evident, the president said, that only striving for peace, not for a new war, is the way to defeat terrorism.
Irina Malenko PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
In the photo: Somalia's president
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/01/15/35569.html