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SOMALIA: President leaves for OAU summit
NAIROBI, 28 February 2001 (IRIN) - For the first time in 10 years Somalia will be represented at the Organization of African Unity (OAU) summit which begins in Tripoli, Libya on Thursday. The director of information for the Transitional National Government, Abdirahman Dinari, told IRIN that TNG President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan left for Tripoli, Wednesday morning. The President's delegation includes foreign minister, Ismail Mahmud Hurre Buba and minister of fisheries, Mohamed Qanyare Afrah, the former faction leader, who was appointed to the cabinet on Sunday.
"Somalia will be taking its rightful place among our African brothers", Deputy Prime Minster Osman Jama 'Kaluun' told IRIN.
Since the setting up of the interim government in August 2000, in Arta, Djibouti, it has participated in a number of international conferences, including the United Nations Millennium conference in September and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in November in Khartoum. "This is just another confirmation that this government has attained international acceptance, and the only thing remaining is to complete the reconciliation process at home, and we will do that", he said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Somalis took to the streets of Mogadishu on Tuesday, to call for the reopening of Mogadishu's port and airport, both local and foreign press reports said. Both facilities have been closed since the withdrawal of UN forces in 1995. The demonstrators marched to the port and airport without incident, according to the reports.