For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No: UNIS/SG/2637
Release Date: 29 August 2000
Secretary-General, in Message to Inauguration Ceremony of President of Somalia, 
Calls Event Milestone in Somali Efforts to Rejoin Community of Nations

 NEW YORK, 28 August (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of the message from Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the occasion of the inauguration ceremony of the President of Somalia, delivered on the Secretary-General’s behalf by his Representative for Somalia, David Stephen in Djibouti on 27 August:

 This ceremony is an important step on the long journey to bring lasting peace and reconciliation to Somalia.  It is noteworthy that Mr. Abdiqassin Salad Hassan was elected on 25 August by members of the Transitional National Assembly, which represents a wide spectrum of Somali society.  This event therefore marks an important milestone in the efforts of the Somali people to re-establish Somalia as a member of the community of nations, through an inclusive, consultative process.

 This ceremony is also a fitting culmination to the peace process that President Ismail Omar Guelleh initiated in September last year.  I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to President Guelleh’s vision and initiative.  It is his tireless effort and dedication that have made this important event possible.

 For too long, the people of Somalia have lived in constant fear of displacement and exploitation.  Their yearning for a life in peace and stability has united them in a common determination to build a better future for all Somalis, through reconciliation and dialogue in a representative process rooted in Somali tradition.  Of that, today’s ceremony is living proof.

 The search for peace and prosperity in Somalia will not be smooth, nor will it be achieved quickly.  Formidable challenges await the new Somali administrative structure born out of the Djibouti peace process.  It will need to establish itself as a viable entity.  As President Guelleh pointed out to the National Transitional Assembly when it was inaugurated on 13 August, it will need to bring on board, through dialogue and negotiation, those personalities and entities in Somalia who have chosen to stay out of the process so far.  Let us hope that the building of national institutions will give added momentum to the peace process, and encourage those who have remained outside it to join your common endeavor.

 The United Nations will continue to do all it can to assist the people of Somalia in their efforts to meet the challenges ahead.  We are also mindful that the peace process belongs to the Somali people, and that no outside party can replace their genuine commitment to building lasting peace and reconciliation.  On behalf of the United Nations, I wish you every success on the rest of that journey.

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