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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 October, 2004, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
Somaliland warns Somalia's leader
Somali presidential candidate Abdullahi Yusuf
Abdullahi Yusuf is unpopular in Somaliland
The breakaway republic of Somaliland has said it will use force if its borders are threatened after the election of Somalia's new president.

Abdullahi Yusuf was elected on Sunday to head Somalia's first government after 13 years of civil war.

Somaliland, which has declared its independence, is fiercely opposed to Mr Abdullahi who claims two regions within Somaliland belong to Somalia.

But Mr Abdullahi has urged reconciliation and forgiveness.

Gun prices fall

"I have no grudge against anybody, but I will seek their cooperation, they should work with me so that we help the Somali people to get out of the fiasco and quagmire that they are in," Mr Abdullahi said at a press conference with Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki.

[Somaliland is] ready to confront any enemy that tries to violate its borders and territory with force
Abdillahi Mohamed Du'ale
Somaliland information minister
Mr Kibaki offered his support to Somalia's new president and urged Somalis to "join hands in accomplishing the task of restoring peace", Reuters news agency reports.

The United Nations and other neighbouring states have also welcomed the election of Mr Abdullahi - including Ethiopia, a close ally of his.

"It's a very welcome step and we're happy to work with this government," Ethiopia's Information Minister Bereket Simmon told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

At home, the price of guns in the capital Mogadishu has halved as a result of Mr Abdullahi's election.

According to the BBC's Daud Aweiss in Mogadishu, an AK-47 which last week cost $700 is now available for between $300-$350, as arms dealers anticipate a ban on weapons.

They want to clear their stocks before a new government attempts to bring law and order to a city run by warlords for over a decade, our correspondent says.


But in Somaliland, independent for 13 years but without any international recognition, the election of Mr Adullahi has not been well received.

The region has refused to participate in the peace process in neighbouring Kenya and has reiterated its sovereignty.

"We remind all concerned that the government and the president elected in Kenya is for Somalia and not Somaliland," Information Minister Abdillahi Mohamed Du'ale said in a statement.

According to the BBC's Husein Ali Nuur in Hargeisa, the Somaliland government has urged the international community to find a solution to the problem of Somaliland before there is any confrontation.

"The people of Somaliland and its government are ready to confront any enemy that tries to violate its borders and territory with force," Mr Du'ale said.

Before his election, Mr Abdullahi was president of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

Both Puntland and Somaliland claim the border regions of Sool and Sanaag and clashed over the territory last month.

Meanwhile, Puntland's former vice-president, Mohammed Abdi Haashi, has been sworn as president of the region.

He has promised to work with the proposed new Somali government.

Regions and territories: Somaliland
11 Jun 04  |  Country profiles



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