By: Yusuf M Hasan
MOGADISHU (Somalilandsun) – The internationally sanctioned talks between Somaliland and Somalia have termed as appropriate.
Then newly elected president of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mahmud said this during an interview with the VOA in Mogadishu where he also informed that security was his priority number one.
Stressing on the importance of the talks between the countries, President Hassan Sheikh Mahmud, who replaces sheikh Sharif said that his administration would re-engage Somaliland as a follow to the past and successful discussions held with the outgoing TFG government.
“Although am all for unity, Somaliland’s sovereignty should not be belittled thus forced to rejoin the south but enticed through friendly means” Said president Hasan
Perceived as a political moderate the academic president congratulated the governments of Somaliland and the outgoing TFG for initiating the talks between the former united nations that have not seen eye to eye in 21 years.
He said that the talks suspended by Somaliland authorities awaiting a TFG replacement government would resume as soon as possible for the sake of establishing humane rapport as well as for the greater good of the Horn of Africa region.
Incoming Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmud, the target of an assassination attempt earlier this week, says restoring security will be his first order of business once he officially assumes office Sunday.
Mahmud spoke Saturday to VOA from the country’s heavily fortified presidential palace in Mogadishu where He arrived, three days early, under heavy security hours after three suicide bombers attacked a Mogadishu hotel where he was residing. At least four people, including all three bombers, were killed.
The first Somali President selected in Somalia soil in 21 years said his first presidential priority would be to determine why so many young Somali men and women have sought to join the outlawed al-Shabaab militant group. He said his administration would then try to create what he called “opportunities for them to defect from [the] al-Shabaab group.” He also called on militants to leave Somalia voluntarily as soon as possible.
Speaking of the assassination attempt, Mr. Mahmud said he knew he would be facing serious risks when he decided to seek the presidency. Nevertheless, he said the attack would not deter him from upcoming duties.
Mahmud, elected September 10, takes over a country that has not had a stable central government since 1991. However, hopes for peace and stability are rising. Al-Shabaab has lost most of its major strongholds to African Union and Somali government forces, and peace has largely returned to Mogadishu, which endured years of almost daily fighting.
Last month, Somali leaders adopted a new constitution and installed a new federal parliament and speaker.