Somaliland Times, Issue 106 Feb.2-8, 2004
NAIROBI--(SL Times) In the ever shifting alliances between the
various southern warlords, Puntlands Abdillahi Yusuf has now allied
himself with Abdiqasim Salad Hasan, former president of the
transitional government, better known as the Arta Faction, sources
close to the Nairobi peace talks on Somalia said.
The new alliance between the two faction leaders was reportedly
forged earlier this month following Abdiqasim Salad Hasan's return
to the peace talks. Since the peace negotiations began in Oct 2002,
each of the two faction leaders has tried hard to steer the course
of the talks in a way that would be favorable to his own political
agenda. The two men competed against each other to wield as much
support as possible from the delegates, with each wanting to boost
his chances for winning Somalia's presidency. However, neither of
the two men succeeded in emerging as a winner.
The sign of rapprochement between Abdillahi Yusuf and Abdiqasim
Salad Hasan first emerged after the two held a series of extensive
face-to-face talks at Nairobi in the last 2 weeks, it was reported.
According to sources close to the meetings, Abdillahi Yusuf
surprised Abdiqasim Salad by showering him with highly conciliatory
gestures and offering support for the Arta Faction leaders
re-election as Somalia's president.
Abdiqasim Salad Hasan has reportedly pledged to appoint Abdillahi
Yusuf as his premier provided the latter distances himself from
Ethiopia. The anti-Ethiopian propaganda emanating from Puntland
controlled media, particularly the Las-Anod FM radio station, since
last week, has been cited by observers as an indication of Abdillahi
Yusuf's compliance with Salad's demand. In addition to Abdiilahi
Yusuf's lust for power in a future government for Italian Somalia,
he is also displeased by Ethiopia's opposition to his invasion of
Somaliland's Sool region. Abdillahi Yusuf's associates in Bosaso
have recently castigated the Ethiopians for not being cognizant of
the real situation in the region. These comments were issued on the
heels of an Ethiopian delegation's visit to Majerteenya (Puntland).
The Ethiopian delegation was headed by the commander of Harargey,
Gen. Gabre Makanan. Warlord Abdillahi Yusuf's spokesman, Mr.
Ismaaciil X. Xasan said in an interview that they were upset with
the stand that the Ethiopians took with regard to the conflict
between Puntland and Somaliland. The spokesman said the Ethiopians
insisted that colonial boundaries should be respected.
To return the favor, Abdiqasim Salad Hasan has accepted to
support Abdillahi Yusuf's claims on Sool and Sanag. In a BBC
interview broadcast yesterday, Abdiqasim Salad Hasan suggested that
the number one priority of the future government of Somalia will be
the disarmament and demobilization of armed militia men all over
Somalia. Abdiqasim Salad Hasan made it clear that Somaliland should
be included in any disarmament effort to be initiated by the
government to emerge from the Nairobi talks.