DATE=8/30/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=SOMALIA / PRESIDENT (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-265983 BYLINE=KATY SALMON DATELINE=NAIROBI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Somalia's first president in nine years has arrived in his homeland, where he says he will try to re-establish a system of national government. The feuding warlords who have controlled Somalia since 1991 are expected to resist any attempt to curb their power. Katy Salmon reports from Nairobi. TEXT: Thousands of flag-waving Somalis greeted their new president, Abdulkassim Salat Hassan, when he landed in the country Wednesday morning. A convoy of more than 100 well-armed pickup trucks, known as "technicals," escorted him to the capital, Mogadishu. Somalia's parliament-in-exile elected Mr. Hassan in Djibouti, and he took the presidential oath of office in that neighboring state on Sunday. The new parliament and president mark the 13th attempt to find a peaceful solution to Somalia's problems. Somalia has lacked a central government since 1991, when a combined force of opposition leaders overthrew dictator Mohammed Said Barre. The faction leaders then turned on each other, turning the Horn of Africa nation into a lawless territory, with rival warlords battling each other from separate fiefdoms. When famine struck Somalia in 1993, American attempts to send help ended in disaster. Nearly 40 U-S soldiers assigned to duty with United Nations forces were killed. Graphic [film] footage of a dead American being dragged through the streets prompted their swift withdrawal. Now that he is in Somalia, President Hassan faces strong opposition from the country's warlords, who have condemned the peace and reconciliation process in Djibouti over the past three months. Mr. Hassan says his future government's main priority will be to disarm the militias. Leaders of most of Somalia's armed factions have said they do not recognize Mr. Hassan as the country's ruler. They have been meeting in Mogadishu this week, reportedly planning how to resist the new government. /// OPT /// Leaders in two areas of northern Somalia that have managed to avoid being torn apart by clan warfare -- the breakaway republic of Somaliland and the regional state of Puntland -- also oppose the new parliament and president. /// END OPT /// The real test will come when the parliament moves home from Djibouti to Somalia. It will have to recruit the militiamen who now cruise the streets, and persuade them to join a new national security force. President Hassan says he will spend only two days in Somalia before heading to New York to represent his country at the United Nations General Assembly. (Signed) NEB/KS/WTW/JP 30-Aug-2000 11:18 AM LOC (30-Aug-2000 1518 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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