Egyptian minister says Africa is pre-occupied with Somalia

Paris- France (PANA) -- Egyptian Foreign minister Ahmed Maher has said in Paris that Africa was pre-occupied with the need for full reconstruction of Somalia as a united sovereign state.
"The reconstruction of Somalia as a sovereign state is a major pre-occupation of African countries," he told a news conference Wednesday evening in the French capital.
Maher said that it was out of this concern that the Transition National Government of President Abdiqassim Salat was allowed to occupy Somalia's seat at the 37th Summit of the Organisation of African Unity in Lusaka, Zambia.
Somalia has been wrecked by factional clan fighting and lacks a central government since the overthrow of former President, Mohamed Siad Barre, in 1991.
Parts of the country are still controlled by powerful clan warlords despite efforts to re-introduce state power under the TNG of President Abdiqassim Salat.
During his three-day visit, which ends Thursday, the Egyptian foreign discussed the Middle East crisis with his French hosts.
Maher told journalists that during their recent summit in Lusaka, African leaders had expressed concern at developments in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
The summit condemned Israel for using excessive force against Palestinian civilians.
Israeli authorities branded the African position as partisan.

26 july 2001 15:19:00

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