Statement by Deputy President, J Zuma, of the Republic of South Africa at the Swearing-In Ceremony of the President Elect of the Transitional Federal Republic of Somalia, His Excellency, Abudullahi Yusuf Ahmed, Nairobi, Kenya, 14 October 2004

Your Excellency, President Mwai Kibaki of the Republic of Kenya,
Your Excellency, President Olusegun Obasanjo of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria, and Chairperson of the African Union,
Your Excellency, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda
Your Excellency, President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda
Your Excellency, President Ali Abdullah Saleh of the Republic of Yemen
Your Excellency, President Ishmael Omar Guellah of the Republic of Djibouti
Your Excellency, President Domitien Ndayizeye of Burundi
Your Excellency, President Abdullah Yusuf Ahmed of Somalia
Your Excellency, the Vice President of Sudan, Mr Ali Osman Taha
Your Excellency, Prime Minister Fredrick Sumaye of Tanzania
Secretary General of the Arab League, Mr Amir Moussa
Former President of Somalia Mr Abdul Kassim Sallat
All Ministers and Representatives of Governments
Representatives of the international community
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
The Speaker of Parliament of Somalia
Esteemed guests

It is indeed an honour for me to address this historic event that marks intensive two years of negotiations and deliberations, which led to the swearing-in of President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as the newly elected President of Somalia.

I bring warm wishes and congratulations of the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Thabo Mbeki, as well as the government and people of South Africa.

On this very special occasion, we would like to warmly congratulate and commend the member countries of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), and in particular the host country Kenya in ensuring that the Somalia peace and reconciliation process finally reaches fruition.

The role that Kenya has played in the peace process of Somalia, is contributing greatly to the realization of the mission of the African continent, to rid Africa of all forms of violence and conflict.

Occasions such as today's swearing-in ceremony reminds us that peace in Africa is an achievable goal, and that we can be able to achieve our objective of breaking the vicious cycle of political instability, poverty, and underdevelopment, as well as Africa's weak capacity to defend and advance its interests in the global arena.

The key building blocks of this strategy are increased political unity and concerted action through the African Union (AU), and accelerated socio-economic transformation through the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

We therefore today extend our sincere congratulations to President Ahmed, the leaders, and all the people of Somalia, and offer them all our goodwill and support for the huge task facing them. Thank you Mr President and all parties for putting the interests of the people of Somali first before individuals or political parties.

A united and stable Somalia will have a positive impact on the stability in Eastern Africa and the continent as a whole. It is therefore our sincerest wish that this event herald a new era in Somalia in which peace and stability will reign.

Another significance of today's occasion is that Africans, we are once again demonstrating that we can produce African solutions to African problems. We can only walk tall and be proud as a continent if we continue with this trend, to put our own house in order.

Your Excellencies, this African quest for peace will also be taken a step further tomorrow, with the holding of the 23rd Great Lakes Regional Summit on Burundi, which is critical at this stage of the transitional process in Burundi. The support provided by the East African community and the Great Lakes region as a whole to the Burundi peace process is phenomenal, and is a demonstration of the willingness by all Africans to work together to find solutions to problems that beset our continent.

With regards to Somalia, we would also like to take this opportunity to call upon all those parties that have not participated in the reconciliation process to now come on board, thereby ensuring a stable and untied Somalia that will benefit all her people.

Our government will continue to provide support to the people of Somalia in their quest for lasting peace and stability, and will remain true to our mission of building a better and peaceful Africa. Today is indeed a momentous day for Africa.

I thank you.

Issued by: The Presidency
14 October 2004

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